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Bob Marshall Music Festival, Seeley Lake, Montana

There’s just something about an outdoor music festival that makes us smile. Singing along to your favorite songs, learning new ones, discovering a new craft beer, smiling with friends and family, losing track of time.

Yes, it’s true: we love the Bob Marshall Music Festival in Seeley Lake. Located just an hour north of Missoula, Seeley Lake is something of a Montana treasure, if we do say so ourselves, and they put on one of the best annual festivals the state has to offer.

Named after famed Montana forester, writer, and activist Bob Marshall – yes, of the Bob Marshall Wilderness Area – this late summer fest has been drawing crowds since 2016, making it a newer player in the festie field.

But that’s what makes it all the more impressive: this August babe moves like a well-established fest and already knows its place in the Big Sky Country music scene. You can hear anything from Americana, folk, country-rock, blues-rock, and more at this fest – the artists and organizers continue to surprise us.

What do we love most about Bob Marshall? Well, it’s situated in the heart of some gorgeous mountain ranges, surrounded by trails, waterfalls, and epic drives.

But more than anything, it brings this tight-knit Montana community together every year, providing a space for families and friends to let loose, dance, song, and yes, drink responsibly.

If you plan on staying in and around Seeley Lake for a few more days, we’ve got some suggestions that’ll make you fall in love with the area as much as we have.

While it was originally home to the Salish Indians, Seeley Lake now houses the last natural chain of lakes in northwestern Montana, as well as some gorgeous natural sights.

Check out Placid Lake State Park and Salmon Lake State Park while you’re in the area – both are perfect for swimming on a hot August day.

But, we’ve got a soft spot for Morrell Falls National Recreation Trail, a 5-mile trek that takes you directly to a lake and falls. If you haven’t noticed, Seeley Lake is a natural wonderland, and that’s why we’ll keep exploring it every time we visit for the Bob Marshall Music Festival.

Speaking of, let’s explore some deets about this new kid on the block.

Bob Marshall Music Festival Event Details

event details

Bob Marshall Music Fest proudly goes on in rain or shine – Woodstock-style – but they’ve got a few more guidelines than that 1960s blur of love. Let’s start with some basics: dates, admission, camping, and more.

Facilities

facilities

So, are you planning on camping during your stay at the festival? You’ll want to read on for more details on campfires, quiet hours, and food and drinks.

Admission, Camping, & More

First things first, let’s go over admission – because the music and camping passes are sold separately, and we don’t want to lead you astray.

You’ll find different pass levels depending on your needs: day pass or a full weekend, with advance rates for you early birds. These tickets can run anywhere from $60 to $99.

Then, there are the camping passes starting at $125, useful for tents, campers, and RVs. Keep in mind that there are no RV hookups and no pets are allowed at this festival (spoiler alert!), but we love getting dirty in Big Sky Country so this was an easy yes for us.

Sites for tents can accommodate a camper, but only if it fits in the 20×20 spot. Otherwise, you’d need to purchase a larger camping ticket. And listen up free spirits: tickets typically go on sale at the beginning of the year (think January!).

Unlike previous years, a large community campfire and localized fire at your site won’t be allowed on the grounds this year. That’s a bummer to us, too, but hey, that’s what happens when your music festival is put on during the fire season. Let’s stay safe!

Out of respect for neighbors, quiet hours are from 1 am until 8 am, and then you can feel free to wake everyone up with AC/DC’s “Highway to Hell” – we know they’ll love that.

Children 12 and under are free for both the camping and the music, just in case the whole family wants to come along for the festivities. With that in mind, camping sites cannot be moved, so you’ll want to have a healthy discussion if you’re camping in multiple groups.

And since there are no public showers available, just go ahead and lean into your dirty hippie moment with some real abandon. We won’t judge! We’ve all done it.

Food, Music, & More

Bob Marshall’s got some great food vendors lined up every year, and if you’re only enjoying the music and not camping, you’ll be set with some of the best food and drinks the area has to offer.

Camping on grounds? Feel free to bring your own food and drinks into the camping area and partake from there (hellooo, chili mac!), but once you hit the music grounds, those drinks and tasty food will have to disappear for Bob’s crop of goodies.

But don’t worry: they’ll have plenty of beer, wine, and hard seltzers available to help you beat the summer heat. Small side note: if you’re camping, pick up some cans from Stevensville’s Wildwood Brewing, a local staple since 2012.

If you’re like us, you’re all about the music – live music, especially. We’re big fans of the yearly lineups at Bob Marshall, which pull in all kinds of bands, from the bluegrass and folk-tinged acts like Bozeman’s Laney Lou and the Bird Dogs to the bluesy rock of Boot Juice to 2022 favorite Deer Tick, coming all the way from Providence, RI.

Sometimes you’ll even find some New Orleans calypso and alt-rock – you just never know. But overall, this is a place for musicians to come and enjoy Big Sky Country just as much as it’s a place for you to relax with your own guitar at the campsite (Just be mindful of those quiet hours!).

Miscellaneous

Got a pet chihuahua? How about a siamese cat? Well, unfortunately, neither of them will be able to make it onto the festival grounds, but just think about the exciting stories you’ll get to share with them over coffee once you get home (Wait, you don’t do that?).

And while we’re thinking about it, don’t forget about community yoga at the campground. You can get your asana on at 10:00 am on Friday or Saturday – or both, if you need a good stretch! Just meet at the main stage area for the practice, and enjoy the ride.

Also, we love that the fest partners closely with the Bob Marshall Wilderness Foundation, where $1 from each ticket goes back to the wilderness foundation honoring the same forester and activist that gave the fest its name!

If you’re interested in volunteering for this great event, reach out to the kind folks at Bob Marshall Music Fest so they can hook you up with information. We know they’d greatly appreciate it, whether you’re a local or visiting from out of town!

Accommodation

accommodation
Image: Montanabw

It’s pretty obvious that you’d have a great time camping on site with old and new friends, but not everyone wants to relive Woodstock, so we’ve got a few tricks up our sleeve for local and nearby accommodations.

You can’t go wrong with Seeley Lake’s Double Arrow Resort, a local staple that’s been helping people relax for 90 years. You’ll pick up on the fact that this was originally a dude ranch set between some beautiful mountains, giving it both Old West character and luxury.

We do love their cabins (especially the Heritage Cabin!), but in all honesty, we’re truly in love with the neighboring Tamaracks Resort. These cabins may not look as romantic and picturesque as the ones at Double Arrow, but they come with so much activity: trails, lakes, and kayak rentals.

They’re our go-to summer spot, for sure. Truth is: you can’t go wrong with either – it just depends on your preference.

But if you need a solid set-up that’ll whiz you right back around to the festival the next day, we recommend checking out the Montana Pines Motel, whose owners truly seem to care about their location’s comfort for travelers.

Beyond that, we can recommend The Lodges on Seeley Lake, but we’d only do so for after the festival – once the grime has washed off and your ears have stopped ringing.

In fact, we’d recommend this spot more specifically to our friends camping in tents: it’s the next step up from nature in a beautiful setting with fantastic amenities. See below for even more suggestions, and let us know how you enjoy your stay in Seeley Lake!

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