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Alive After 5 good for economy in downtown Billings

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Posted at 12:40 AM, Jun 21, 2024

BILLINGS - The first two Alive After 5 events of 2024 have drawn about 5,000 people.

Attendance on Thursday night can mean a lot economically for the Thirsty Street Brewing Company, the Arterial Drive band, and the Downtown Billings Association.

Arterial Drive is from Billings and performed at Alive After 5 for the first time in five years.

“We give them everything that we can,” said Drew McDowell, the band’s founder. “We're hopping around. We're sweating and they give us that kind of encouragement, like keep going, keep the energy strong.”

Thirsty Street hosted the event for the second year in a row.

“It couldn't work out better for us to have a draw to the whole town of Billings,” said Shea Dawson, Thirsty Street co-owner along with his wife. “And have people come to see our stage and what we have inside as well.”

The event, now in its 21st year, is also a boon for the nearby businesses, providing a good time and an economic benefit.

Thirsty Street pays $5,000 to host the event and makes a few thousand dollars for the night.

“We hope for something much larger than that in terms of sales,” Dawson said. “But by the time you pay for the beer, you pay for staff and all that kind of stuff, it's, it's not a ton of money, but it's worth doing.”

 The band picks up some money to play, sells some of its albums and T-shirts, and maybe more chances to perform.

“After the show, there will be two or three people come up and say, I want you to play for my grandma's 85th,” McDowell said.

The Downtown Billings Association says it's a great fundraiser, helping to pay for plowing sidewalks in the winter, public art, flower baskets, and for free events such as the Strawberry Festival and Harvest Fest.

“It's a good advertisement for the business,” said Lexie Mann, Downtown Billings Association events director.

While no one had the exact dollar amounts, Alive After 5 brings all kinds of benefits for more than the host and the band.

“Money spent downtown, whether it's in the footprint of Alive After 5 or maybe it's going out to dinner afterwards,” Mann said. "Or going to another bar or maybe even shopping downtown."

“It's a great marketing opportunity for us,” Dawson said.

“It kicks off the weekend here in Billings during the summertime,” said McDowell.