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Future of Music in Montana

Updated: Dec 29, 2021

by Maria Zepeda

We never imagined we’d have this long of a pause in seeing live music, as the pause that was forced upon us from the Covid-19 Pandemic. What has felt like years anytime I think about playing a live show, or a memory surfaces from past performances, a pit forms. It’s been painful to say the least. Talking with friends about this feeling provides a sense of community, and a strange sense of normalcy. We can choose to sit in this place of uncertainty, or dream for the future of music in Montana. I choose to dream.

Let’s expand and evolve our music scenes. We need to rethink music venues’ reliance on alcohol. Why should music venues rely primarily on alcohol sales? Should live music function as a way to bring patrons to a bar? How about earlier shows centered around giving the artist a stage and an attentive audience? How about late night shows with your favorite local band creating the soundtrack to your dancing? There are alternatives. We can honor the artist, the early bird, the night owl, and the venues.

Will you dream with me?

Let’s address safety. We need to build safe, inclusive communities around live music. One too many times we have heard stories of a friend being drugged, harassed, assaulted or feared getting home safely leaving a show. We have to do better. Our music venues need to join in this conversation, and be an active participant in creating an environment that honors the safety of ALL. With that said, MAMA is grateful to partner with Make Your Move! Missoula. Their entire staff has worked tirelessly throughout the pandemic to create a curriculum that addresses the concerns of community members in Missoula.

Do you dream of a better music scene? Let’s take action. Let’s take care of one another. Let’s respect boundaries. Let’s lean into the intermission we have been given. I encourage you to pick up the guitar, start that hobby, learn a new skill, write a letter, call a loved one…maybe your mama? Whatever you do, do it with purpose and with the hope of a better tomorrow. I look forward to the reality we dream up together and being together again celebrating local and independent music, and how far we’ve come.

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