BILLINGS — Montana's largest city is gearing up for an urban concert experience like none other, turning an empty parking lot into an unforgettable evening with big-name bands coming to Billings.
Downtown Billings Alliance is partnering with the Pub Station Presents to turn an underutilized parking lot into a concert venue for the 2nd year in a row. This year in July, concert-goers can catch Lyle Lovett and his Large Band, and it's all for a fundraiser to help beautify downtown Billings. The concert series is called Downtown Summer Sounds.
“We’re standing in the parking lot of the Billings skate park. We’re at 27th and Minnesota Avenue. One block from the Montana Avenue core,” says Lindsay Richardson, Community Engagement and Events Director for the Downtown Billings Alliance.
It doesn’t look like much today, but come Sunday, July 23 this empty lot will be fenced in and transformed into the ultimate outdoor concert venue.
“When you get here, you’re not going to feel like you’re in a parking lot at all. The sun will set. It will be a beautiful evening and it's a really cool urban downtown experience,” says Richardson.
All of this is just one block south of the railroad tracks, making it walkable before and after the event for spectators to take in local food and drink.
“Right behind me you can see Wild Ginger and Walkers, just the closest restaurants right there, but there are eight restaurants that are open on Sunday July 23rd,” says Richardson.
It’s an all-ages concert where folks can sit in the grassy area next to the skate park, bring a lawn chair or stand, and it's a partnership with the Pub Station Presents.
“It was kind of an idea I had to maybe bring more people downtown,” says Sean Lynch Pub Station Owner. “We knew that blues fest was moving from downtown at some point in time. We wanted to make sure there were still a lot of people coming downtown and circulating around here around a concert.”
The pub station is delivering on its idea, bringing in big names and sold-out crowds, making a more beautiful and safe downtown.
“This is our one ticked concert because we fundraise with this concert for the business improvement district,” says Richardson.
At about $50 a ticket, Downtown Billings Alliance expects to raise $20,000 to pay for the city’s free concerts, festivals, flower baskets, Christmas decorations, parades and public art.
“Anything that is clean and safe, downtown beautification, that's the business improvement district.
Right now we are focusing a lot on the allies and brightening allies with public art and the light bike trail,” says Richardson
With acts in the past like the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, Koe Wetzel, Milky Chance, Kip Moore and now Lyle Lovett, plenty of beautification is on the horizon.