BUTTE, Mont. - The Montana Folk Festival officially kicked off in Butte Friday evening. It was a last minute race for opening night, but Paul Donaldson is used to the work.
"Months of work," he explained. "This is our fifth year. It gets better every year, we really enjoy it."
Donaldson supervises a crew from Rocky Mountain Rigging.
Montana Folk Festival organizers, venders, volunteers, and visitors are gearing up to have a great time -- so much so that fans can't decide what part of the festival they like most.
Butte resident Maureen Britton said, "I think it's the music. It's also the art. They have a lot of Native American artists here and that's spectacular, too. It's the music by far, but it's the food, too! It's really fabulous, and it's free!"
Donaldson explained, "We work in the music industry and this is fun and unique because the acts are from all over the world and are a lot more cultural and not as mainstream."
With six stages and more than 250 musicians, craftspeople, and dancers, the festival is diverse and jam-packed.
Matt Holmes is one of the featured artists, and he loves how the festival draws people from all over.
"We make some sales and talk to people to find out where they're from," Holmes said. "We've shipped stuff to New York, so it's nice to see people from all around the United States coming to Butte for the festival."
It is that kind of pride that brings people like Butte resident Maureen Britton back again and again.
Britton said, "All these people come in and all the shops are able to sell more, the hotels, the motels, the restaurants. I think the people they bring in are really nice people. Last year it was a real pleasant experience."
Carellen Nix said, "It's always a good way to spend the day. It's beautiful weather and a beautiful place!"
The festival starts Friday, July 12 at 6 p.m., and runs until 10:30 p.m. Saturday runs from noon to 10:30 p.m. Sunday runs from noon to 7 p.m.