Shots fired-or poured, or something: Montgomery Distillery trolls local breweries’ music venue wars

While our arts editor Cory Walsh has been having a blast covering the Kettlehouse and Logjam v. Big Sky brewery’s escalating concert war, the distillers over at Montgomery had a little fun of their own with this Facebook post Thursday morning. 18121493_1491988714167461_5208275124620389464_o

The tongue-in-cheek press release detail’s Montgomery Distillery’s plans for an amphitheater at the top of Mount Sentinel, accessed via funicular.

“Not only will this be the largest venue in Montana, accommodating roughly 30,000 concert-goers, but it will definitely be the highest in elevation,” Ryan Montgomery said in the release.

“We’re literally going to be looking down on everyone.”

This week Big Sky brewery unveiled rough designs for its new stage, featuring an artist rendering with lasers shooting from the stage: “the most formidable stage in the state,” according to Knitting Factory Presents President Mark Dinerstein.

The Kettlehouse amphitheater will seat 4,000 in a bowl on the Blackfoot River. They’ve already booked several summer shows through Logjam Presents.

But the Montgomery amphitheater has already seen interest from the B-52s, Mannheim Steamroller, Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch and David Hasselhoff, according to the release.18121128_1491988744167458_8232454245430134427_o

The release acknowledges that Ryan Montgomery is not a big music fan (he prefer’s paging through men’s magazines), but he knows the demand is there for another venue.

“People like that Missoula is weird, and what’s more weird than building a vertical train up to a stadium on top of a mountain?”

According to comments on the Facebook post, the project will cost around $800 million and is not fake news.


City of Missoula grows, and what’s next for University of Montana open meetings

ParkMissoula is busy.

St. Pat’s is still in turmoil, according to this story from reporter David Erickson.

Planners talked growth Monday at Missoula City Club. That story here. Sounds like déjà vu all over again to me when it comes to the fight about growing in and up – or out and out and out. Back in 2008, or thereabouts, Missoula went through all kinds of planning, with the Urban Fringe Development Area Project and Envision Missoula, and at the time, the community notion was to grow mostly inwardly. The Growth Policy 2014 builds on the ideas, according to the city’s website.

Last week, I went to a budget meeting at the University of Montana, and it made me again curious about how the open meetings and access issue will play out for UM and the Montana University System.

The meeting was noticed, and I did get copies of the materials presented afterward. But it isn’t a given that UM will make materials available to the public, or do so in advance, as the city does.

Sooner or later, I need to follow up with Gov. Steve Bullock’s legal counsel, Andy Huff, on this topic. Huff redistributed a 2014 memo telling government agencies they need to have rules in place for public participation, as former Gov. Brian Schweitzer did.

But it’d be good to know if the Montana Office of the Commissioner of Higher Education received that directive. Huff said he wasn’t sure if OCHE got the original memo.

I’m not sure if the memo went to OCHE in 2014. The most recent distribution however occurred at an in-person meeting, and no one from OCHE was there. At chief legal counsel meetings, I typically invite only those agencies/departments under the Governor’s direct authority.

It doesn’t seem like an agency would need to wait for a directive to deal with public participation, but a spokesman for OCHE said he doesn’t believe the system is obligated to adopt such policies.

I can’t think of a time when UM has denied my request to get a copy of a document reviewed at a meeting, but I can definitely think of times people haven’t been sure whether they can provide documents that were clearly public (no names, all campus budget info), and I had to wait until well after the meeting (that wasn’t the case last week).

Also, water. The city of Missoula is taking over water projects slowly but surely, and reporter Peter Friesen has the story.

Picture is from the overlook at Milltown State Park.

  • Keila Szpaller