Dancing and camping: Dess Fest country music festival kicks off near Helena Thursday

Dess Fest, which bills itself as a “grass-roots music fest,” opens this week and brings three days of live music.

The festival’s cozy and secluded setting at 6350 Lone Pine Road, 10 miles from town, creates an atmosphere that immerses attendees in music and Montana’s culture.

“We wanted to encompass the ‘big time’ country festivals in an intimate setting,” said Dess Fest manager Patti Dess.

Wes and Julie Dess’s Lone Pine property where the Country Music Festival, “Dess Fest” will be held.

BRIDGET PACK, Independent Record

It features live music, camping and outdoor recreation. Festivities begin Thursday, with gates opening at 3 p.m.

Guests can explore the surrounding property, play cornhole, hang out at the pond, and socialize at T’ings Tavern, which offers a full bar. On-site vendors will provide food and merchandise.

Dess Fest began as a family reunion tradition at Wes and Julie Dess’s Lone Pine property, where they would gather to camp and make memories around the fire. Over time, it evolved from karaoke fun to discussions of hiring a band.

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