Live music scene returns to Yellowstone County

Posted at 10:37 PM, Feb 28, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-01 07:44:41-05

BILLINGS - Officials hope to have an exact number this week.

One of the first industries to be shut down a year ago was live music.

But since Governor Greg Gianforte lifted capacity and curfew restrictions on bars and restuarants, Billings' concert scene is back with a vengeance.

Over 10 different venues featured live acts over the weekend in Yellowstone County.

Q2 stopped in at Wild Ginger downtown which is working music back in gradually on Saturday evenings now.

"We kicked off the music scene with Pan Blanco which is Jon Roberts and his crew for Chinese New Year February 12th and 13th. Brick-house Band, Frequency, 852, Bob Bowman comes from Yellowstone Park. We've had bands from Bozeman, so we're really picking it back up," Wild Ginger Japanese Steakhouse Manager Mikal Young said.

And the Yellowstone Cellars & Winery, and the which has actually had music throughout the pandemic, but says customers are enjoying the loosened restrictions.

"When we could have music, we had to have the social distancing, we had people that wanted to dance, so badly, and we couldn't allow them to dance. And they would almost get a little mad at us. For not being able to dance. Now people can do that and we leave it up to their comfort level of coming in here," Yellowstone Cellars & Winery owner and winemaker Clint Peck said.

Both businesses have adapted through the pandemic for those picking up the fixings for a night in.

"We were closed for a month, and the amount of Chinese take-out that's walking out the doors, blows my mind," Young said.

Or, for those interested in a night out.

"I know there's still people that don't come to our winery because they're still cautious about the social distancing and I absolutely respect that of them. But I also respect the people that want to come in here, and can come come in here and feel that it's a safe, comfortable environment to socialize," Peck said.

It seems that the public is eager to do just that.

"Just when you think, it's going to be a gradual influx of people, next thing you know, it's just to the wall busy, and so if they're not afraid, I mean we still wear our masks and practice social distancing then, good for them. You know, they're ready," Young said.

But one thing that these businesses have really missed-the Interpersonal connections.

"It's really a social gathering place, and it's interesting because sometimes we'll have people that don't even know each other meet here, and next thing you know they're making vacation plans together," Peck said.

And also, a lot more people are dancing. Just wait," Young said.