Unveiling Billings’ Vibrant Music Scene

April 2024

article by brooke wagner | photo by arianna skoog

Montana may be known for its rugged winter wilderness and snow-covered mountaintops, but the local music scene is showing no signs of cooling down! From the obvious picks to the hidden gems, the Billings area has countless hip venues where you can immerse yourself in live music. Whether your tastes lean towards indie folk, country, bluegrass, or rock, Billings is a great place to take your musical horizons to new heights.  

Yellowstone Cellars and Winery is one of the most popular spots on the West End to unwind to the sounds of live music with a glass of local vino in hand. Owned by Brandon and Sarah Skarsten, the winery offers French and Italian style red and white wines, sourced from grapes grown in family-owned vineyards in the Pacific Northwest. This charming and airy venue hosts live music every Friday and Saturday night, where guests can dance the night away or take in the sights and sounds from the open air patio.  

Located in Shiloh Crossing, Levity Bar and Bistro offers a unique dining experience with a Mediterranean flair. Every Wednesday night, they offer “Jazz Jam,” a rotating group of musicians who intertwine rhythm and melody as smooth as a glass of red wine. From the horns to the piano, the bass to the drums, each musician offers a phrase to the musical conversation as guests sway along. You never know who will end up on stage, as patrons are welcome to make requests and even sing a ditty or two with the band, on occasion. Weekends also come alive at Levity, with various artists providing music nearly every weekend.  

Diamond X Beer Company fits right into the far West End landscape. Craft beer is served inside an open air venue, complete with wood beamed ceilings and plenty of natural light. The spacious patio greets guests in the spring and summer, while a huge stone fireplace keeps them toasty during the colder months. The restaurant and brewery entertains guests with live music on the first and third Tuesday evening of every month. Zecheriah Peabody has been a running favorite there for the past year, and newcomer Holland Dotson recently joined the playbill. A native Montanan, Peabody combines covers and original songs to pay homage to his rural upbringing. Dotson says, “I love to play Appalahchian country, folk, and sometimes even dive into 2000’s punk and acoustify it.” The two provide consistent evenings of musical entertainment at a place that’s sure to leave you with a full belly and a full heart.  

If it’s family-friendly atmosphere and entertainment you’re after, be sure to check out Thirsty Street Brewing Co. This brewery and tap room boasts a rotation of seasonal beers, while also catering to a crowd who may prefer wine, cider, or non-alcoholic options. In addition to snacks like homemade soft pretzels, nachos, and trail mix, patrons are welcome to bring in their own food or order from a nearby food truck. Their website (www.thirstystreet.com) keeps an up-to-date calendar of events with artists like a soul-pop duo from Seattle, a music and dance collaborative production, and live comedy. The focal point of the bright and airy garage is the stage, with plenty of room for crowds to mingle up close to the action. Whether it’s blues, rock, or indie folk, the diverse lineup caters to every musical palate, young and old.  

Once a hub for travelers passing through Billings, The Pub Station now beckons music lovers to stick around for the show. The former Greyhound bus station is home to weekly live music events, and offers a variety of local beers and ciders on tap. Standing room only crowds are a common sight, as concert-goers enjoy the sounds of artists like The Voice’s Kameron Marlowe, Bozeman’s band “The Clintons,” and throwback parties celebrating the hits of the ‘90s and beyond. May will feature a concert by “Church of Cash,” a Johnny Cash tribute band. This show will include anecdotes about the life and legacy of the Man in Black, and welcomes fans of all ages to truly feel transported into the presence of one of the greats.  

To wind down after a long week, a special Downtown monthly event brings families, friends, colleagues, and neighbors together in the heart of downtown. This celebration, aptly named “First Fridays,” showcases local shops, restaurants, and nightlife from 10:00 a.m. until 8:00 p.m. on the first Friday of every month. Bring the whole crew out to enjoy food and drink specials and live entertainment, coordinated by the Downtown Billings Alliance. Attendance is free, and on-street metered parking is free after 5:00 p.m.  

At Simply Local, we want to bring you the latest in special events and entertainment in an easy-to-access format. We are proud to introduce a new monthly column that will keep you up to date on the can’t-miss arts and entertainment events in Billings and the surrounding areas. Check back every month to plan your evenings out on the town; from evenings with the Symphony to the sweet sounds of funk and soul. We can’t wait to show off all that Billings has to offer! 

Soon-to-be-featured on the music scene are places with weekly live music like Kirk’s Grocery, R Club Lounge, Craft Local; and in the art world, Yellowstone Art Museum, among others.

Originally printed in the April 2024 issue of Simply Local Magazine

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