The following is a release from Mainstreet Uptown Butte.  

BUTTE, MT - Organizers have announced the second wave of performers coming to the Montana Folk Festival in Butte, Montana this July 12-14.  “It’s shaping up to be a strong lineup for this July's Montana Folk Festival packed with master musicians and dancers” says Festival Director George Everett.  "You can expect to find plenty that's familiar but also to be amazed at the variety and diversity of the event."

There is no admission for any performances on all three days of the festival although festival organizers are asking that attendees "Kick In" a minimum of $25 each day for individuals and $35 each day for families to help sustain the festival in coming years.   

Anyone wishing to Kick In before the festival can send a contribution to help sustain the festival for this year and for years to come to Montana Folk Festival, P.O. Box 696, Butte, MT  59703.  Or, they can contribute online at

More than 200 artists representing a broad diversity of musical, cultural and culinary traditions will present more than 60 performances on six stages in Uptown Butte.

 The latest performing groups coming to the 2024 Montana Folk Festival are:

Mr. SippMcComb, Mississippi - Mississippi Delta Blues

Castro Coleman aka Mr. Sipp, was born August 25, 1976 to Johnelle and the late Vera Coleman in the small town of McComb, Mississippi. He began playing the guitar at the tender age of 6. Through hard work and perseverance, Mr. Sipp has become a Delta Blues Force to be reckoned with! Being recognized for his amazing vocals, songwriting ability, musicianship, ability to produce records and entertain Fans with an upbeat, outlandish show all make Mr. Sipp “The Total Package.” Above all of that, Mr. Sipp is a God-fearing family man. With over 125 recording credits to his name, Mr. Sipp has played on over 50 national recordings with several Grammy ® nominated projects.

Mr. Sipp is the 2014 International Blues Challenge Winner by way of The Vicksburg Blues Society as well as the 2014 Gibson Best Guitarist Award Winner. The same year Castro was given the Bobby Rush Entertainer of the Year Award by the Jus' Blues Foundation. In 2015, he won several Jackson Music Awards including International Male Blues Artist, Blues Artist of the Year, and Entertainer of the year.

He was the BMA Best New Artist Album winner 2016 and The Spirit of Little Walter Award 2016. The same year, Castro was the first blues artist to have his handprint inducted into the Wall of Fame in Fredrikshavn Denmark. For the 25th Annual Living Blues Awards, he won the Best Blues Album of 2017 New Recordings award (Contemporary Blues) with "Knock a Hole In It," and in 2018 he won the National Blues Artist of The Year award at 44th Annual Jackson Music Awards.

 In 2014, Mr. Sipp was cast in the James Brown movie, “Get on Up”, in 2016 he was casted as the young B.B. King on three episodes of the CMT series “Sun Records” and in 2021 he was casted as a blues singer and musician in the movie “Texas Red” performing one of his original songs from his new album “Sippnotized” with special arrangements for the movie.

Mr. Sipp’s favorite quote, “I’m living to love the life that I live, Music!!!

Mr. Sipp spent more than 25 years in the Gospel Music Business as a Recording Artist and a Producer.  Since his BIG WIN at The International Blues Challenge in 2014 and the release of his debut Blues CD, “It’s My Guitar,” the music community has been a Buzz and welcomed him with open arms! He fills venues, theaters and festivals all over the world with his second Malaco multi award winning album “The Mississippi Blues Child” (2015). In 2017, with "Knock a Hole In It' he shares his music all over the planet from France to Switzerland, Netherlands, Spain, Brazil, and USA... and in April 2021 he “Sippnotized” the world in the middle of the pandemic.

Kala RamnathRedwood City, California - Hindustani Violin

Maestro Kala Ramnath with her ‘Singing Violin’ stands among the world’s finest, most inspirational instrumentalists. Her playing has been featured on the Grammy-nominated Miles from India project, compositions of hers have appeared on the Grammy-winning album In 27 Pieces and the Kronos Quartet’s 50 For The Future. The UK-based Songlines magazine hailed Kala Ramnath as one of the 50 world’s best instrumentalists and selected album Kala as one of its 50 best recordings. She was the first Indian violinist ever to be featured in the violin Bible, The Strad. She was the subject of a solo essay in the third edition to The Encyclopedia- Rough Guide to World Music. Her contributions feature in Hollywood soundtracks like the Oscar-nominated Blood Diamond and many more.

And, most significantly in an Indian context, in May 2017 she was awarded the most illustrious Sangeet Natak Academy Puraskar for her contributions to the violin in Hindustani Classical Music.  Born into a dynasty of prodigious musical talent, one which has given Indian music such violin legends as her paternal uncle Prof. T.N. Krishnan and paternal aunt Dr. N. Rajam, Kala’s violinistic vision began manifesting early. Recognizing her innate talent, her astute grandfather, Vidwan A. Narayan Iyer took her under his tutelage. Thus began her most auspicious journey on the road to astounding renown and international acclaim.   

She became a pre-eminent disciple of the legendary vocalist Pandit Jasraj. During this mentorship Kala began revolutionizing approaches to vocalized Hindustani violin technique. During this time she began formulating a voice quite unlike other Indian or non-Indian violinists. Justifiably her voice came to be dubbed ‘Singing Violin’.     

Acknowledged as a virtuoso of staggering proportions, Kala has performed at the most prestigious music festivals in India. She has appeared on world stages including the Sydney Opera House, Paris’ Théâtre de la Ville, London’s Queen Elizabeth Hall, San Francisco’s Palace of Fine Arts, Singapore’s Esplanade, New York’s Carnegie Hall, the Rudolstadt Festival in Germany and the Edinburgh Music Festival in Scotland.    

Kala is at the vanguard of the present generation of Indian instrumental super-stars. Due to her rigorous training in the Hindustani classical tradition and familiarity with the Karnatic classical tradition she comfortably forges musical alliances with artists of renown from different genres around the globe incorporating elements of Western Classical, Jazz, Flamenco and traditional African music into her rich and varied repertoire.

“…If Mozart had been transported to the South Asian subcontinent, this is what he and improvised Western classical music might have sounded like. This comparison is not thrown in to befuddle or impress. Kala Ramnath is a musician of giant like qualities…” Ken Hunt in the Jazz Wise magazi review of September 2004.

Kala has been bestowed the ‘A Top’ grade by India’s Radio and Television and is one of the youngest artists to have achieved this honour. She is the recipient of many awards – notable among them are the ‘Rashtriya Kumar Gandharva Sanman’, ‘Pandit Jasraj Gaurav Puraskar’ and the ‘Sur Ratna’. But recently and most notably of all, the Sangeet Natak Academy Puraskar.

 Mehrnam RastegariBrooklyn, New York - Iranian Kamancheh

Mehrnam Rastegari is a well-established Iranian musician and film score composer, singer, violinist, and master Kamancheh player. She has been featured in concerts and music festivals worldwide, including in The US, Germany, Switzerland, France, Finland, Iran, and Kazakhstan. These performances have occurred at some of the most prestigious music festivals in the World, including the GlobalFest in NYC, USA, Secret Planet in NYC, USA, Fajr International Music Festival in Tehran, Iran, and the WOMEX (World Music Expo), in Tampere, Finland.

Rastegari is an extraordinary performer on Kamancheh and has been recognized by some of the best Kamancheh performers and instructors globally, who certified her as a Master Kamancheh player. She was featured as a guest speaker in the TEDx event “Oasis: Existence in Nothingness.” Additionally, she composed the score for multiple award-winning films, including “Dispirited” for which she won the award of “Best Original Score” from the Melbourne City Independent Film Awards (MCIFA), and the film “Rotten,” which was nominated for the original score in Japan’s Kadoma Festival​​​​​.

She was born in 1991 in Iran. Her first stint with music was at the age of 11 when she was trying to play different rhythms on a traditional Iranian percussion called Tombak. Her family encouraged her to learn Tombak professionally. In the music institute, she discovered a magical sound flowing from the Violin class. well! She was mesmerized by it, so she decided to learn Violin, she also played Kamanche, a kind of Iranian fiddle, for several years. She practiced very hard and enjoyed every moment of playing it. In her teens, during some musical events and performances, she got in touch with other Iranian musical instruments and music maestros. The similarities between the Iranian Violin and Kamancheh made her choose Kamancheh as her main musical instrument. She learned from the best Kamancheh masters such as Imamyar Hasanov, and Ardeshir Kamkar to name a few. After learning for six months she had her first official concert as a Kamancheh player with an ensemble. The success of the concert made her very popular and gave her many opportunities to perform in different ensembles. After almost a year she felt like composing her music. She experimented and improvised in various styles. Eventually, she found herself in fusion and world music.

Her art reflects her interest in the juxtaposition of cultures. She believes that in current times the most valuable arts are those which most people with different languages can feel connected.

 79rs GangNew Orleans, Louisiana - Mardi Gras Indians

Behind the splendid theater and music of the Mardi Gras Indian parade lies a turbulent history: both the legacy of American slavery and segregation that birthed the unique New Orleans tradition and the internecine conflicts that marked itsmearly days, after it took shape in the 1800s to honor the bond between Native Americans and Black Americans in their distinct but entwined struggles against white oppression.

In this context, it was a significant moment when Big Chief Romeo Bougere of the 9th Ward Hunters and Big Chief Jermaine Bossier of the 7th Ward Creole Hunters, who had a personal rivalry to match that of their krewes, joined musical forces as 79rs Gang. After announcing their reconciliation-minded Mardi Gras Indian music to the world in 2014 with their debut album, Fire on the Bayou, they elevated it to another level of pop panache on the 2020 breakout Expect the Unexpected, which seamlessly incorporates singsong fusion of parade chants, drumlines, and hip-hop. The result is a danceable, dexterous popular watermark for
a celebrated but guarded cultural form for which 79ers Gang are the best ambassadors since The Wild Magnolias in the 1970s.

Melding modern hip-hop sensibilities and traditional New Orleans Mardi Gras Indian music with super fresh results, The 79rs Gang originally formed in 2013 when Big Chief Romeo Bougere of the 9th Ward Hunters and Big Chief Jermaine Bossier of the 7th Ward Creole Hunters put their differences aside and came together to build a bridge with music, releasing a traditional Mardi Gras Indian music album (Fire On The Bayou) in 2014. Today, Jermaine and Romeo – working alongside writer/ producer Eric Heigle, have created a new album (Expect The
Unexpected) that is rooted in the unique traditions of New Orleans Mardi Gras Indian culture, while launching that culture forward, bringing each track to dance floors and block parties around the world.

Nobody’s BusinessMouth of Wilson, Virginia - Old Time

Nobody’s Business is an Old-Time Stringband that hails from the Grayson Highlands mountain region of Southwest Virginia, where the state borders North Carolina and Tennessee.  The band is steeped in the traditions of rural “Old-time” mountain music that has been passed down through generations in this unique area of the Blue Ridge Mountains.  

Grayson and the surrounding counties in southwestern Virginia remain an epicenter of old-time to this day, and Nobody’s Business is among its most talented current torchbearers. 

Nobody’s Business is a mainstay in the SWVA/NWNC music community and is an in-demand dance band that regularly plays regional Square Dances, music festivals and fiddlers conventions along SWVA’s “Crooked Road Music Trail”.  Drawing on a rich regional repertoire and paying homage to the traditions of Bluegrass, Old-Time and early country music, Nobody’s Business are no strangers to entertaining audiences far and wide. 

Collectively, the band members have performed at festivals and venues such as The Smithsonian Folk Festival, The Kennedy Center for The Performing Arts, The Library of Congress, Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion, The Grand Old Opry at The Ryman Auditorium, The National Folk Festival, Merlefest, FOAOTMAD Gainsborough Old-Time Festival, and The Carter Family Fold in Hiltons, Virginia. 

The band members are all experienced teachers of the music and have been musical ambassadors of the genre for decades touring around the globe performing at countless music festivals and participating/teaching in cultural music exchange programs in Australia, South Africa, New Zealand, Ireland, Belize, France, The British Isles, Romania, Scotland, UK, just to name a few. 


Zuni Olla MaidensZuni, New Mexico - Traditional Zuni Dance and Song

The Zuni Olla Maidens are a venerated dance troupe from Zuni Pueblo in western New Mexico, equally well-known for singing, drumming and their trademark dance balancing pottery on their heads, as well as being an all-female troupe. The Zuni Olla Maidens are also unique in that their group has always consisted of related women, making it a family affair for more than 70 years.

The significance of the family connection gives the Zuni Olla Maidens reliance and longevity. The individual members are stewards, knowing they owe much to the women that came before, as well as being responsible for those who will come after they are gone. 

The balanced pottery style of dancing originated in the 1920s by a Hopi woman named Daisy Nampeyo, who married into Zuni. It was designed as a social dance, performed by women, to showcase both Zuni pottery as well as the clothing and jewelry made in the Pueblo.

In the 1950s, the style was adopted by Crystal Sheka. The group was led for decades by Sheka’s daughter, Cornelia Bowannie. When Bowannie retired from the group in 2015, her daughters, Juanita Edaakie and Loretta Beyuka, became leaders. Edaakie says when they retire, they’ll pass on the leadership to one of their nieces.

Being both a family group and exclusively female is essential to the Zuni Olla Maidens. Edaakie explains: “We pay homage to our ancestral women who centuries ago used to get water from nearby rivers and lakes and carry them in these great big jars called ollas. Olla is the Spanish word for pot. And we know it wasn’t an easy job.”

The Zuni Olla Maidens have been recognized with invited performances at the National Museum of the American Indian, (Washington, DC), Richmond Folk Festival (Richmond, Virginia), Zuni Festival of Arts & Culture, (Flagstaff, Arizona), and Gallup Inter-Tribal Indian Ceremonial (Gallup, New Mexico) among others. A recreation of the Olla Maidens regalia, made by Edaakie, is part of the Museum of Indian Arts and Cultures’ permanent exhibit in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

The group received the distinguished Allan Houser Award from the Santa Fe Indian Market for “preserving and reshaping the face of native arts.” They were also recognized with a New Mexico Historic Women Marker, a roadside marker east of Zuni Pueblo that briefly outlines the group's history and honors their artistic excellence.

Gary Haleamau & Kawili, Las Vegas, NV - Hawaiian Traditional

Gary Haleamau and Kāwili, (Kāwili means to mix ingredients, blend, entwined, interwoven, interlaced~ with individual gifts of music and dance in native Hawaiian) is a Hawaiian Music family band that resides in Las Vegas, Nevada.  They started singing as a trio in 2008. From performing at local Hawaiian festivals and hula competitions to the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, this family trio shares the music and stories of Hawaiʻi.

Gary Kawiliau Haleamau of Kailua-Kona, Hawaii began his musical career at an early age; first as a solo artist, then traveling with Hawaiian music groups throughout the world sharing his amazing talent. Gary is a recipient of the “2008 Nā Hōkū Hanohano Award for “Best Religious Album of the Year” and in 2015, received the Nevada Heritage Award.

Sheldeen Kaleimomi Haleamau of Hanapēpē, Kauaʻi, began her hula career at a young age travelling the world sharing the gift of hula. As the founder of Hālau Hula o Kaleimomi and former Miss Aloha Hula, Sheldeen continues to teach her love for the art.

Kurin Pomaika’imaikeakua Haleamau, son of Gary and Sheldeen Haleamau, is a singer and musician. As a former recipient of the Folklife Apprenticeship grant from the Nevada Arts Council in 2008, Kurin has since then, excelled his musical career as an accomplished record producer and slack-key-bass guitarist for Kāwili.


2024 Performers previously announced --

Jerry Douglas Band (Bluegrass)

Los Texmaniacs (Texas Conjunto)

El Laborinto del Coco (Bomba Fusion)

Sheryl Cormier (Cajun Accordion)

Le Vent Du Nord (Quebecois)

Fran Grace (Gospel)

Fred Thomas (R&B/Funk)

            For details as they develop, visit or on Facebook at mtfolkfest.

The Montana Folk Festival in Butte, Montana July 12-14 is produced by Mainstreet Uptown Butte with major partnership and support from Butte-Silver Bow County and the Imagine Butte Collaborative in cooperation with the BSB Tourism Business Improvement District.  Artistic programming services are provided by the National Council for the Traditional Arts.

Some unique rentals around Butte Montana

a look at some of the more interesting rentals in and around Butte Montana

Gallery Credit: Paul Panisko

Know Your Butte History: Standing Mine Headframes

Dozens of mine headframes used to dot the Butte hill but most have since been torn down or swallowed by the Pit. Here are the ones that still tower proudly over our town.

Gallery Credit: Tommy O, Townsquare Media

Butte's Ghost Signs Part 1

Uptown Butte was once one of the largest urban centers in the Northwest and the bustling heart of a thriving Mining City. Here is the first in a series of some of the ghost signs you can see Uptown that have survived through the decades.

Gallery Credit: Gallery Credit: Tommy O/Townsquare Media

"Ghost Signs" of Uptown Butte Part 2

Gallery Credit: Gallery Credit: Tommy O/Townsquare Media

More From Montana Talks