Marina Near Eureka Bringing Big Concerts to NW Montana
What a backdrop. It's on the shores of Lake Koocanusa. You've got the lake, you've got the mountains, and you've got some cool boats in the marina. On top of that, they're drawing some big names to this small town Montana concert venue near Eureka.
Elle King, Blues Traveler, Queensryche, and the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band are just some of the names of the bands soon playing at the Abayance Bay Marina in Rexford, which is just a short drive from Eureka, Montana. In the photo above is Montana's own Tim Montana during his July 2nd show at Abayance Bay.
Elle King has some great new music out. For those who remember my interview with actor and comedian Rob Schneider when he was in Montana last February- Elle King also happens to be his daughter.
I was out there earlier this week for the Montana Electric Cooperatives Association mid-year board meeting BBQ and it is an incredible location. While there, I caught up with Larry Stewart who really transformed the old marina into what it is today. He literally built the whole venue locally, moved 500,000 yards of dirt, had to battle federal agencies to make it happen, and more.
Larry Stewart: Took everything on site- all the rock. The stage is built out of the power poles from the subdivision up top. A lot of talented people, a lot of help, great crew, hard working guys. But the real uniqueness I think of it all is it is all created locally. It's all been designed on site. And yeah, sweat and blood. It's really that simple.
Aaron Flint: How do you turn a sleepy little community like this into such a centerpiece for great music and and concerts?
Larry Stewart: "Well, they say build it and they will come but it's not really true. You spend a lot of money, do a lot of advertising, hope that people like you show up and give you some radio time. And then the main thing is I think the real trick is bring names that people are going to come to. I started with Jewel four years ago. She was a name that brought a crowd. I probably didn't make any money, but it brought people to come and see the place. I think people think Eureka- they're coming to a cow pasture with a trailer in the corner for a band. Then they show up and they go, 'Whoa, this is something.' We tried to create an environment that's worth the drive. Come. Have a great meal, bottle of wine on the lawn, and enjoy a show in this setting. It's probably hard to imagine anywhere in northwest."
The full interview with Larry will air on Monday's Montana Talks statewide radio show between 9 and 10 a.m.
State Senator Mike Cuffe (R-Eureka) took me out on Lake Koocanusa and showed me the US-Canada border, just a short boat ride from the marina. Here's a view looking north from the marina into Canada.
The folks from the Montana Electric Cooperatives Association enjoyed some live music during the BBQ following their mid-year board meeting.
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