Gravel Bar Presents Vigilante Fest 2023

Monday May. 1st, 2023

Gravel Bar is pleased to announce the second annual Vigilante Music Festival in Virginia City, MT. Taking place on June 10th in the beautiful setting of Discovery-Ellingsen Park, the festival is an all ages, day long celebration of regional Montana bands and musicians. Here is a little preview of this years line up.

Dead Sky
This 6 piece Bozeman band is comprised of 3 vocalists, 2 guitarists, bass, drums and keys who have been playing Grateful Dead tunes together since their 1st show at The Filling Station November 1st, of 2019. The group is made up of musicians who have played together in a variety of local acts for many years; including Pinky and the Floyd, M.O.T.H., Kelly Nicholson Band, Tsunami Funk and the Hooligans. They have overcame many tribulations since they began, including the loss of their founding member Joe Knapp, and have organically grown into one of Bozeman’s most cherished tribute bands.

Tessy Lou Williams
Tessy Lou Williams was born to sing. Her parents, Kenny and Claudia Williams started the band Montana Rose and nurtured a love of making and performing music into a family business of sorts for their three children.
“I continue to play music because there’s literally nothing else in the entire world I’d rather do,” Tessy Lou says. “It’s tough, it’s trying, it has its loneliness and isolation from the rest of the world, but it’s also incredible. This world is the only one I know and the only way I know how to exist.”

Matt Wallin & His Nervous Breakdown
Growing up a few miles south of the Canadian border in rural North Dakota, Matt Wallin tells stories about the trials and hardships of rural farm life and oil boomtowns to starting a family and following your own path, wherever that leads you. Matt’s songs paint pictures, with writing that reflect the character of Mike Cooley, Corb Lund, Waylon Jennings and Vic Chestnutt. Songs you can see when you hear them.

The Dead Yellers
The Dead Yellers are an original country rock abomination from Bozeman, MT. Fronted by local songwriter Peter King their music follows a theme of courage in the face of adversity in which everyone must endure. it’s delivered in an upbeat western roots revival format that leaves the audience with a secure feeling of hope and happiness. The band is often joined by fiddle, pedal steel, bass, and harmonica to round out a true montana sound.

Sam Platts and The Plainsmen
Sam Platts and the  Plainsmen play traditional country and western swing. The group is composed of Sam Platts on guitar and vocals, J Kane on bass and vocals, Lilly Platts on fiddle, and Bill Dwyer on electric guitar. Songs range from originals to standards. They have played around the world for a wide range of audiences, including festivals in France and China. The group originally formed in Coeur d’ Alene Idaho, but now call southwest Montana home.

Izaak Opatz
Like many of his favorite songwriters (John Hartford, Lucinda Williams, Jeff Tweedy), Izaak Opatz is an ungulate in life’s winter pasture, chewing on and metabolizing disappointment, heartbreak, and the other tough stuff into enjoyable musical carbohydrates. A compulsive metaphorager (and inveterate wordplayboy), Opatz breaks it all down with enzymes of wry humor, thoughtful simile and close observation - a therapeutic process of narrativizing his own life that, almost as a byproduct, turns out savory nuggets of literate, confessional pop.

Damnit Lauren!
Dammit Lauren! is a rock and roll trio formed in the middle of nowhere, Montana. Born out of a love for alt and indie rock, their music combines melody with unconventional chords and driving rhythm, led by Lauren’s distinctive and dynamic vocals. The band focuses on original music, blending their assorted backgrounds for a soulful alternative rock sound that combines rocking jams with pop hooks. The band will be releasing their second album in July 2022.

Martin DeGroot
FAMILY Band Martin DeGroot is a lifelong musician and performer. Born and raised in a musical family in Southern Oregon, he now resides in Southwest Montana. He offers multi-instrumental solo and small group Bluegrass, Americana,Folk and rock music performances.

Paul Lee Kupfer
Originally from the Appalachian mountains of West Virginia, Paul continues to work on his craft while touring around the United States based out of Knoxville, Tennessee and Western Montana. His style is somewhat of a throwback to traveling musicians and songwriting of long ago, but the language stays relevant and rooted in the modern world that surrounds us all.

Please join in for a great day celebrating Montana musicians, and spring time in the Rockies. Doors open at 11am and music starts around 11:30am. There will be a beer tent with beverages for sale, and you are welcome to bring your own food. Blankets and low back camp chairs are also allowed. No outside beverages allowed. Please leave your pets at home. There is parking and public restrooms on site.

Tickets on sale now at:

About Discovery Ellingsen Park; The Fairweather Party

One spring day in 1863, six men looking for their next big gold strike found it in Alder Gulch, William Fairweather, Henry Edgar, Thomas Cover, Barney Hughes, Micheal Sweeney, and Harry Rogers left Bannack, attempting to meet and travel with James Stewart’s Yellowstone Expedition, to find gold and establish town sites along the Yellowstone. The six were two days behind the main party and trying to catch up. An encounter with a Crow tribe that left them considering the best route back to Bannack, led them up into the mountains away from the Madison River. Fairweather and Edgar slipped their gold pans into the cold creek waters beside the spot they picked for that night’s camp. They soon realized they had discovered a rich deposit of placer gold in what Edgar would name Alder Creek.

During the early 1850’s small amounts of gold had been found in this region of Idaho Territory, but within ten years the number of prospectors and the intensity of their search had increased. Gold discoveries were made throughout the territory, with prospectors rushing from one region to another: Elk City, Gold Creek, Grasshopper Creek. The May 26, 1863 gold discovery in Alder Creek not only changed the lives of the six men who found it and the thousands who followed them, but it also influenced Montana’s future, with the creation of the Montana Territory in 1864.

The six men known as the Fairweather party discovered the gold that soon brought a growth in population that created settlements all along the gulch. Thomas Cover and Henry Edgar played and important part in establishing the town site of the city of Varina, soon to be renamed Virginia. The upper most settlement in the gulch was Summit, with Junction City being the last of the “14-mile city’. Virginia City was central in location and importance and was established closely after Nevada City, with claims that both were first.

The Secretary of the Treasury, H. McCulloch, reported on March 5, 1868: “Alder gulch has produced more gold than all the others, and probably more within the last three years than ever was taken in the same time from any gulch of the same extent. It is the opinion of those best qualified to judge that within three years from the commencement of mining operations on this gulch $30,000,000 were taken from it.”

These six men that formed a partnership and deep alliances in their successful quest for gold eventually found different paths, but will be well remembered as the Fairweather part, discoverers of one of the world’s richest gold deposits.