But ideas that work. Who else would have the gumption to turn the town of Hot Springs into one big dance party with the Symes Hotel as its epicenter? That’s what Mod and his partners in The Enlitenment Project 2000, a local confederation of similarly Mod-minded movers and shakers, did a few months ago. And now, with a sizable wad of capital to work with, EP 2000 events are just going to get bigger and better.
Starting with Fine Pickin’s, “Montana’s first authentic-genuine bluegrass-harvest” festival, which will bring this boss line-up to Marshall Mountain next Tuesday: Leftover Salmon, the Tony Furtado Band, Larry Keel and Friends, the Yonder Mountain String Band, the Cold Mountain Rhythm Band, Ritmo Six, Abendego and the Groove Phatties Trio. Whew! And that’s not all. There will be DJs spinning all night, a multimedia light spectacular, craft and barter fair, rides up the chairlift, all-local organic refreshments, specially brewed Fine Pickin’s beer—a regular chautauqua!
It’s what they used to call a “happening” in the old days. Mod and the EP 2000 are devoted to putting on unclassifiably diverse happenings like this one that combine bluegrass with electronica, alternative energy workshops with clowns and face-painting and everything in-between. Mod even expresses a certain impatience for things that are easily pigeonholed. “I’m trying to evolve the hippies here,” he says. “I mean, I’m all hip, but some of these kids need a friendly kick in the ass. Everybody needs a friendly kick in the ass.
“No barriers, no perimeters, no ‘you can’t do this, you can’t do that,’” he goes on. “Our expenses are probably bigger than for other promoters because we’re trying to make everything a little more grassroots and put on the kind of shows we’d want to be at ourselves.”
Mod doesn’t like to think of the EP 2000 as a business organization, except insofar as having fun is serious business. He doesn’t have partners, he has “buddies, man, my bros!”—referring to EP 2000 co-founders Jason Denuil and Brian Abramson—and when he refers to the organizational hierarchy of the EP 2000, he tends to use terms like “legion” and “alliance.” If this all sounds a little cryptic, well—you’ve just got to try to think like Mod!
“There’s something in Missoula that just keeps the peace,” he says, “I’ve got a little ball of energy that controls my thoughts. It’s all good, and it’s as pure as it can be. It’s a golden pearl. It’s all about the vibe.”
Fine Pickin’s takes place at Marshall Mountain just east of Missoula on Tuesday, Sept. 28 beginning at noon. A shuttle bus is available from the Exxon Town Pump in Bonner. Tickets $23 in advance, $28 at the door. Kids under 10 free. Call 1-888-MONTANA for tickets.