( The Foggy Mountain Boys bluegrass band )
I had a difficult time figuring out what to do about music and dancing. For me, music is essential at a wedding and one of the more important items on a list. I feel that even more than the food, it can make or break a celebration.
I’ve been to a few weddings with good DJs, some with horrible DJs, and others where the music was fully automated with some sort of playlist. Hiring a DJ to play in the middle of BFE in Montana didn’t seem entirely mood-appropriate to me. Can you imagine us dancing outside, kicking up some dust to the Macarena or She’s a Brick House? Montana-style Chicken Dance anyone?
In some ways, I would be content JUST to create my own playlist for entire wedding. I have over 75 GB of tunes on my computer and I’m all about mixing my own mood-appropriate sets. This is certainly the cost-effective solution, but something about having an outdoor wedding in Montana just begs for live music.
However, I have yet to attend a wedding with live entertainment, so when I started considering it, I had no idea where to begin.
Hiring a band is a challenging process. The first obvious problem was that I have no familiarity with local bands. The second obvious problem is that cost can be very prohibitive when planning live music. If I had money coming out my ears, I could fly out anyone I wanted, with plane tickets for their instruments. But I don’t have money coming out of anywhere, so I had to think locally… and that meant searching for bands in Kalispell, Columbia Falls, and Whitefish, which are the closest “metropolitan” areas to Glacier and Polebridge.
Believe it or not (I suspect you’ll believe it), there isn’t a lot of detailed information online about bands local to Northwest Montana. Purported directories of live music don’t turn up much. The search feature (along with everything else) on MySpace sucks. And scouring Google search results for an hour turned up only a handful of candidates in different genres. Nine out of ten were either disbanded or sounded horrible.
However, a bit of beginner’s luck gave me Good Wood. No, I’m not being obscene… this bluegrass band came up in one of the first searches I did for bluegrass in Kalispell. Their website is quite retro, as I’ve noticed many Montana websites are, but they sound AMAZING.
There are several more uptempo bluegrass audio tracks and a video on their website.
I got in touch with Christian Johnson, fiddler extraordinaire and he told me that Good Wood is available for our wedding. They’ve got great rates- a $300 deposit and $1200 total for three hours of music. I didn’t want to jump the gun, so I ran my idea by friends, family, and our wedding coordinator to get their blessing. Honestly, no one I know is all the familiar with bluegrass and some of them thought I might actually be insane. But our planner agreed with me that their rates and sound were awesome, so we took the plunge.
Provided we can use the wooden stage in Polebridge or rent one, it looks like we have ourselves a band! I will probably still put together a playlist for the cocktail hour and part of the reception, depending on when we want these guys to start to play. As for our ceremony music, that’s another story, one that’s closer to home.
Did you hire a live band for your wedding or have you been to any weddings with live music? What was your experience?