Apply to Become a Performer

Get Involved at The 2018 Montana Folk Festival.

We try to strike a balance between traditional performers recommended by our artistic programming consultants at the National Council for the Traditional Arts, performers brought forward by our Montana Music Programming Committee and submissions that we receive from performers around the country.

Quality and authenticity are the primary selection criteria we apply to the hundreds of submissions we receive. This year, submissions must be in the form of a link to an EPK, YouTube video or website that will allow a committee to review the quality and suitability of the content and performance for the festival.

Submissions must be sent by the performer or their representative. If you have seen a great group and you would like to see them perform, encourage them to apply; please do not recommend that we contact them.

From the beginning, the festival's approach to programming focuses on presenting arts passed down through time in families, communities, tribal, ethnic, religious, regional and occupational groups.

We strive to present artists who are firmly rooted in the community from which their music derives.  We do not consider "interpreters" of tradition, such as contemporary singer-songwriters or "revivalist" performance groups, however, accomplished they may be. Beyond that, there is also an attempt to be inclusive in terms of race, ethnicity, and region.

While the festival strives to include artists that reflect the traditions of Montana and the Mountain West, all applicants are held to the same standards.

Obviously, a festival with less than two dozen performing groups cannot be fully representative of the vast variety of folk artistry in the nation every year.  On the other hand, over the years, this event has dealt with the regions and cultures of the nation with fairness.

Finally, any event that deals with applications and solicitations from more than 1,000 performing groups and selects about 20 is certain to turn away hundreds of very fine groups. While festival organizers regret this, we plead for understanding and good will from all who choose to involve themselves in this process.

The Montana Folk Festival strives to present the very finest traditional artists from across the nation. In making its selections, it is guided by the following definition established by the National Endowment for the Arts:


FOLK & TRADITIONAL ARTS – a definition

The folk and traditional arts are rooted in and reflective of the cultural life of a community. Community members may share a common ethnic heritage, language, religion, occupation, or geographic region. These vital and constantly reinvigorated artistic traditions are shaped by values and standards of excellence that are passed from generation to generation, most often within family and community, through demonstration, conversation, and practice. Genres of artistic activity include, but are not limited to, music, dance, crafts, and oral expression. - National Endowment for the Arts.


If you have questions about performing at future Montana Folk Festivals, or about any aspect of the festival, please contact us by using the link below.



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