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Fairgrounds set to rock for fundraiser concert bash

A night of live music again is set to give people the chance to support and improve their local fair while enjoying a full night of entertainment.

The sixth annual Rockin' the Hills has at least six local bands slated to perform at the Bigger Better Barn on the Great Northern Fairgrounds, with refreshments, a children's play area, sale items and a 50-50 drawing part of the event.

Missy Boucher of the Great Northern Fair Foundation, which sponsors the event, said local bands Blind Luck, Milk River and Plowed Under will be making return appearances with Shovels and Shotguns, After Midnite and Stone Buddha Bluez all making their debut appearances. Boucher said other local talent also is expected to perform, with the bands playing in no particular order.

"Fans can expect a late night of great talent, music and fun, " Boucher said.

Admission to the event, with the gates opening at 7 p. m. and the music starting shortly after that, is $5 with children younger than 6 getting in free. An ever-popular item, a sand hill on which the children can play, will again be at the concert and concessions will be provided by Havre Youth Baseball Association. A beer garden again will be open.

A dance floor will be set up for people to dance to the live music, as well.

The event started as a battle of the bands competition; that changed to a straight concert performance a few years ago.

Proceeds from the concert go to the foundation's activities, and in the past have helped fund projects like improvements to the fairground arena and landscaping improvements to the grounds and parking lot.

Boucher said the bands that have confirmed bring a variety of musical styles.

Shovels and Shotguns consists of four core members; Brett Arensmeyer on drums and vocals, Kameron Gillam on guitar, Alex Billmayer on guitar and vocals, and Dusty Schuhmacher on bass and percussion. Members of Shovels and Shotguns say the bands that influenced them include The Rolling Stones, Joe Bonamassa, Indigenous, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, ZZ Top, Hank 3 and Scott H. Biram.

The band released its debut album, "Beer Gigs, " last year.

"Their love for great music drives the band as is evidenced by their high energy live performances, " a release said. "Through playing mostly original tunes, they have developed their own blues rock sound. "

Plowed Under, formed in September 2009 with the name Barley Music, later changing its name as different members joined the group, with all five members performing vocals.

Justin Kallenberger plays acoustic guitar for the band, with Larry Larson on rhythm guitar, Dusty Huestis on lead guitar, Joe Lamphier on bass and Rob Everingham on drums.

The band opened for Chuck Wicks and Jason Michael Carroll when they traveled through Havre, and also has been invited the last two years to play at the Headwaters Country Jam at the bridge outside of Three Forks and shared the stage with Mark Wills, Mark Chestnut, The Bellamy Brothers, Trailer Choir, Little Texas, The Eli Young Band, Lonestar, Jon Anderson, Charlie Daniels, Eric Church, Ricochet, Blackhawk and Big Kenny.

Plowed Under has been invited back to play the 2012 Headwaters Country Jam at the end of June with the likes of Joe Nichols, Justin Moore, JT Hodges, Aaron Tippin, Frankie Ballard and the Kentucky Headhunters.

After Midnite got its start when two friends, who describe themselves more like brothers, moved to the Hi-Line. When another friend brought up his bass, "the others plugged in, grabbed the drum sticks, and the rest as they say is history, " band members said.

The band's makeup now is Larry Eslick on rhythm and lead guitar, Zeke Neil on lead guitar, Bill Smith on drums, Spike Magelssen on bass and Adam Murphy and Brandon Williams on vocals.

"We began writing our own music rooted in blues and classic rock, played a few shows with other local bands, but really didn't get the name out until we started playing cover songs, " band members said in a release. "Recently, the band made the decision to pick writing back up and slowly implement their 'real' sound with the sound of old classics and newer rock. "

Stone Buddha Bluez is the creation of Hi-Line native Bruce "Buddha" Patera, who grew up listening to the sounds of Patsy Cline and Hank Williams on the radio as his family farmed in the Havre area. He said in a release that he discovered folk, blues, and rock 'n' roll during the 1950s, '60s and '70s.

He has performed from the high plains of eastern Montana to the mountain valleys of the western part of the state, Patera said.

He said he recently rediscovered his love of performing live and decided to start playing again.

"The idea of blues performance is that by performing or listening to the blues, a human being can overcome sadness and lose the blues, " Patera said.

A Stone Buddha Bluez performance might include old blues tunes from New Orleans, or one from a Jazz Age composer like George Gerswhin, or maybe even an old Delta blues tune once performed by Robert Johnson.

Blind Luck has performed classic rock from the '60s through the '90s featuring songs ranging from Del Shannon, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Cheap Trick and The Rolling Stones to AC/DC, "and everything in between, " a release said.

The band members are Joe Ross on guitar and vocals, Woody Woodwick on bass guitar and vocals, Jeff McCormick on percussion and vocals and Kent McCormick running sound and lights.

The band's "high energy and great music (ensure) a fun-filled night of dancing or listening to your favorites from the past, " the release said.


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