MISSOULA – Missoula is home to many rock stars and hosts a bustling, ever-changing music scene.
Musicians, promoters and members of the music business gave talks and answered questions about the industry at the University of Montana.
Rockstars and students mingled in the Gallagher Business Building on Friday and Saturday evening for the first annual Montana Music Summit.
Hosted by the University of Montana Entertainment Management program, the event brought dozens of panelists, ranging from promoters to managers to musicians.
The last speaker of the event was John Wicks, a drummer for the pop group Fitz and the Tantrums and the founder of Drum Coffee. He shared some optimistic thoughts about the future of music and Missoula.
“The benefit of living in an isolated place like Missoula is that you’re not affected by industry voices, you’re not affected by expectations of the music industry and that’s honestly the way Seattle was just prior to the Grunge era,” Wicks said.
“When, suddenly, Seattle became this hotbed, you know? And people were struck by this original sound that was coming out of the city and they had no idea where it came from,” Wicks added.
That sentiment was echoed by locals who are also excited for the future of Missoula’s cultural impact.
“Local music I think — there’s just a lot that’s unrecognized, that hasn’t been given an opportunity to be fairly heard and noticed…so I’m really excited,” Maria Zepeda said.
“With a lot of the bands I’ve had the pleasure of seeing and working with — and just everything that’s happening right now — I feel like we’re creating that shift that needs to happen,” Zepeda added. “In the end, as for as far as being heard, we are making ourselves heard.”
Students and local industry workers also found the content of the panel helpful and even inspirational.
“This weekend, a ton of professionals that really tear about the music industry were really invested than this, so data I’m feeling very empowered, I wanna go home and play my guitar and want to really get I can to music because I love it,” said Mason Hutchinson with Switchback Records.
The success and relevance of local music in a bustling art scene such as Missoula has the event’s organizers hoping that this is the first of many summits to be held on the UM campus.
Organizing festivals, producing albums and managing tours were some of the many topics covered by guest speakers during the two-day event.