BILLINGS – With MontanaFair, it may be easy to forget that there is another festival in the Magic City. In Southside and Downtown, the Magic City Blues music festival attracted thousands Friday and Saturday.
However, 2011 is special for the organizers, as the festival marks its 10th year. The idea was dreamt up by Tim Goodridge and his brother in the early 2000s, as a way to drum up some musical excitement for Billings.
“One day, I was sitting around the fire pit at The Beanary,” said Tim Goodridge, “It was 10:30 at night, and it was 75 degrees out, and it kind of just hit me.”
The idea quickly grew afterwards and became the Magic City Blues. Memories of the first festival are still fresh for Tim.
“We had 7 bands, I think. We did both nights, we always did Friday and Saturday, and we had really good attendance,” said Tim.
Fast-forward a decade, and there are now 16 bands performing, including big acts such as Hanson, famous for its 1997 hit “MMMBop”. Hanson performed on Saturday.
Of the thousands of people at the fair throughout the weekend, there are some who have been there since the very beginning.
“Been seeing the Magic City Blues since the first year they opened,” said AJ Kalanick.
Some of the proceeds from 2011’s Magic City Blues will go to arts programs in area schools, something that attracted AJ.
“Can we exist without them (arts)? Absolutely, but is life better with them? Absolutely,” said AJ.
As Tim, along with the Magic City Blues team, look back on the past decade, they are thankful that Billings residents gave the urban music festival a chance to prove itself.
“I’m just really grateful that I have wonderful support from the community buying the tickets, and all the people that helped me over the years,” said Tim, who also said the volunteers helped make the festival a success also. Some of the volunteers, Tim revealed, have been helping out since the very beginning