BIGFORK – The Crown of the Continent Guitar Festival brings world-class artists, instructors, and students together for a week of celebration and guitar.
Some of the best musicians in the world are taking part in the event at Flathead Lake Lodge in Bigfork. The festival is in its 9th year and six talented guitarists from were awarded $5,000 scholarships to attend the workshop and festival.
They’re spending the week taking lessons from some of the world’s best artists — including Gary Oleyar who tours with Jim Messina — who will be headlining the festival Saturday.
"Being able to watch somebody new some new kid who is younger than my socks is just beyond my ability to take it all in. I can’t say enough about this whole thing and to have something like this where they get to be inspired by other people who are further down the road then they are that’s what really lights me up," Oleyar said.
Students partake in seven guitar genres of study ranging from rock to classical.
President of the Crown Foundation Steve Anderson says the festival is a celebration first of guitar and then of all the music that goes around it. He says the goal is to educate and mentor the next generation of musicians.
"Collaborative mentorship. We are all about trying to develop the next generation of musicians. When I talk to artists and interview them, not every artist fits this category," Anderson explained.
"But the majority of artists I talk to really get it and if they can, they always want to participate. And they come at an incredible cost to themselves because they’re all on tour and we’re fortunate to get a great mix," he added.
The artists include Grammy-winner Lee Ritenour and bassist Nathan East who is fresh off a tour with Eric Clapton.
Anderson says there is no better place in the world then Montana to create the magic that takes place over the five-day event.
"The environment we have — with the setting and all the beauty and natural beauty we have been lucky to inherit — with mixing it with the invisible language of music."
The festival and workshop will continue through Sunday.