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Bear Pawlooza showcases Hi-Line musical talent

It's not often a music fan on the Hi-Line can see country, rock and hip hop acts share one stage. A.J. Briere wanted to fix that with the Bear Pawlooza music festival.

Saturday and Sunday Briere, with his music promoting company Dine and Ditch Entertainment, held the second annual Bear Pawlooza festival, this year at the Blaine County Fairgrounds.

While most of the bill was local Hi-Line or Montana bookings, a few out-of-state acts were on the bill, too.

Stevie Stone, a Missouri-based rapper from Kansas City's rap king Tech N9ne's Strange Music collective, was meant to headline the festival's Saturday night hip hop set, but a flight cancellation led to his show being rescheduled for Sept. 20 in Helena.

The country-heavy line-up on Sunday afternoon was also canceled, but Havre punk group The Punished picked it back up. Wenatchee, Wash. -based hip hop act EDGE wrapped the evening, having just completed his 12-hour trek to Chinook.

The 25-year-old Briere was born and raised in Chinook, where he said he had always been involved in music. When a knee injury inhibited his ability to perform, Briere started booking shows.

His first was last year's Bear Pawlooza, at Fresno Reservoir. Briere said that this year's turnout was way better than last year's, which he attributes to a year's worth of planning.

This year's festival may be something of a farewell, however, as Briere plans to move to Helena to promote larger shows in the capital and Missoula.

It's tough to break into the music industry from Chinook, Montana.


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