Music is what brings so much of Missoula together. Whether they’re DIY shows at Mobash Skate Park or big-name bands traveling through the state at KettleHouse Amphitheater, music lovers from all over Montana show the heck up.

That’s why Missoulians are trekking across the state to Billings this weekend for Julia Louis-Dreyfest. The DIY festival turns 10 this year—so you know it’s going to be a big one.

What can you expect?

Julia Louis-Dreyfest is featuring at least 40 bands this year. Many of them are from our very own Missoula.

You’ve probably heard of some: long-time local favorite The Foilies, punk trio But I’m A Cheerleader, the legendary Rob Travolta (top of my list) psych-rock swooners Cosmic Sans, and many more will be taking over the various stages of Billings to serenade, provide dance space, and maybe melt your face.

You’ll also find comedy and poetry jams as well as art from local vendors.

New to the festival this year is a “dedicated noise-electronic show,” JLD co-founder Austin Finn told Townsquare in an email.

“I feel like it’d be hard to reach a point of critical mass to be able to hold a “noise fest” in a place like Billings so it’s cool to be able to leverage whatever interest and momentum Dreyfest has at this point to try new things,” Finn said.

What IS a Dreyfest?

Well, everyone loves puns, right?

The festival has actually evolved a bit since its conception a decade ago. Initially called Richard Dreyfest (changed in light of alleged sexual harassment accusations against Richard Dreyfuss), founders ambitiously wanted to host a music festival at Devils Tower in Wyoming, “in honor of Close Encounters of the Third Kind,” co-founder Finn said.

When that logistically turned out to be difficult, the show went on in Billings. It’s been going on every year since.

“I think we were always sort of grossed out by other fests that purported to be DIY but were just as gatekeepy as the general Super-Mega-Corporate-Fests that the general public would be more familiar with - so I think throughout the years, we’ve learned to accept that a lot of folks won’t take us as seriously as maybe we wanted them to…

“I think we would lose what makes it special if we tried to ‘take it seriously,’” Finn said.

Why you should go

I’d like to think that Dreyfest is pretty visibly communal, for whatever that is worth,” Finn said.

But it works. People crave a place to thrive in the joy of musical soundwaves, and Dreyfest is the place to do that this weekend.

I also asked other music lovers why they are going to make the drive over to Dreyfest this year.

Freelance music journalist Asa Thomas Metcalfe says people should go for,

“The Foilies, Dawg.”

And Goochslam, a well-loved Bozeman surf-punk band warns,

“Not going has been linked to spontaneous albino raccoon attacks. Serious stuff.”

Even Finn has his own excitements: “Poverty Porn, which are one of my favorite Missoula bands, are playing directly after the noise block, which I’m super excited for.”

It’s all happening August 11-13 and you can still get your wristbands on the Julia Louis-Dreyfest website.

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