Music on Main kickoff: food, dancing and, yes, sunshine

By Melissa Loveridge Chronicle Staff Writer BDC

Yesterday’s rainstorm disappeared just in time for the summer’s first Music on Main in Downtown Bozeman. Complete with pony rides, food vendors and dancing in the street, the event marks the beginning of summer for many Bozemanites.

“Bozeman equates Music on Main to summer,” said Ellie Staley, director of Downtown Bozeman, the organization that puts on the event. Staley said normally about 3,000 people come to Music on Main, but 2018’s first edition might have been a little quieter because of the weather.

Even though the rain stopped less than an hour before the event started, hundreds of people crowded Main Street, which was closed to traffic from Rouse to Black avenues. Kids played with hula hoops and bubbles and waited in line to ride ponies, while adults waited in line for drinks in colorful plastic coconuts and danced to the music of John Roberts Y Pan Blanco, who played from a flatbed trailer attached to a bright red Kenyon Noble truck.

“Can we visit Spanish Harlem and get funky?” the lead singer asked the crowd of people dancing around the truck. The audience answered with a cheer, and the band launched into a cover of Ray Charles’ “Hit the Road, Jack.”

For Steve and Denise Frey from Van Wert, Ohio, the downtown festival was a fun surprise on a trip through Bozeman.

“It’s great!” Denise said. “[Bozeman’s] downtown is beautiful.”

Harley Smith, who works in a hair salon downtown, said she saw the crowd while working and came down after to see what it was all about. Smith moved to Bozeman last fall, and it was her first time at Music on Main.

“It’s cool!” Smith said. “The food smells amazing.”

Lauren Winder and Sola Yeager, both students at MSU, said they started coming to Music on Main two years ago. It’s the people who bring them back summer after summer, they said, though both were surprised at the size of the crowd after the afternoon’s rain and thunder.

Music on Main will bring its rotating selection of food vendors and music to Downtown Bozeman every Thursday, 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., until August 16.

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