Stanford native prepares for ninth annual Shine festival

Charlie Denison

This year’s “Shine r Evolution” flyer was designed by Squeek of Great Falls

Art courtesy of Gabriel Schmitt

Gabriel Schmitt of Stanford is excited to announce the ninth in-the-series event ‘Shine r Evolution.’

Shine is a two-day event, starting Friday, Sept. 22, at Falcon’s Roost Music and Arts Mountain Venue, north of Frenchtown.  Although it’s a hike from Lewistown – 300-plus miles – Schmitt said it’s worth your while, as it’s “more of a happening than a regular concert.”

“People don’t just file in and sit down to watch a show,” Schmitt said. “We allow people to camp and dig in for the weekend. It is very much art-based. People express themselves, interact, and creatively communicate to connect with other participants.”  

According to Schmitt, Shine began as an “end-of-summer get-together” for the Montana electronica subculture in 2009.

“It came together by way of people from Bozeman, Missoula and others from out of state in hopes to bring an urban flair together with local music and arts,” Schmitt said.

Shine has accomplished its mission, bringing thousands of people to revel in the art and dance at a variety of venues through the years. The festival started at Ryan Creek Meadows near Clinton, then moved outside of Ovando, followed by the Marshall Mountain ski area, then Lolo Hot Springs, Haugan’s Fifty Thousand Silver Dollar Bar, and elsewhere.  For the last two years, the event has taken place at Falcon’s Roost, owned by Jimi Falcon, who is a long-standing supporter of the festival and the entire Montana Music Scene.

“Jimi has been working towards a music venue on his land for many years,” Schmitt said. “He’s gone out of his way to accommodate events, and especially to bring this festival, which is not your typical flat-land large parking lot type of deal.  It is more of a roots-type gathering that includes cultural education, art making, vending and all types of music running constantly on several stages.”

Schmitt said he’s optimistic Shine will stay at Falcon’s Roost for the foreseeable future, which excites him.

“We want to make substantial improvements to Falcon’s Roost,” he said. “We need a sustainable logging operation, parking for 300 more vehicles, and a developed infrastructure of trails and services for our participants to utilize while they are at events.”

With a fine arts degree from the University of Montana and experience from various like-minded events, Schmitt got involved with Shine after being recruited by good friend and veteran festival-goer Barry (Plunker) Adams, whose son, Shaneca, works alongside Schmitt to coordinate the event. Schmitt focuses on the musical aspects while Shaneca – a former member of the Blue Man Group – works on theatrical, logistical, and business aspects.  Schmitt is happy to note, “We depend on a very wide network of promotion and help from our greater cultural family here in Montana; this is bigger than myself and bigger than anyone of us.”

Some of the performers at Shine through the years include DJ FreQ Nasty, iLL.gates, AtYya, Mr. Projectile, and The Seventh Element. This year’s performers include Enzymes, Sarah Frazier, Woodburn, Twiggy Smallz, Animal Treats, MT Souls, Skillbilliez, Lecture, Space Cowboy, MASC Artisans, Voodoo Horseshoes, and many more.

It’s a unique experience to have in Montana, Schmitt said, and all are welcome.  Once again, Schmitt reminds participants that Shine is not all about the music.

 “We encourage people to come, bring art supplies and create art on site,” Schmitt said. “Bring interactive environments, too, like a portable living room, sculptures, and even create art with your actions and costumes.  Shine is a very open book, yet a place where you are disconnected from the rest of the world. Cell phones don’t function at Falcon’s Roost. You are in nature with 500 to 1000 other people who don’t have working phones. You are confronted with the fact you can’t hide inside a room or behind your device. You have to start interacting with people that are there with you face-to-face.”

The festival goes until Sunday, Sept. 24.  Admissions are available at Cactus Records in Bozeman or by going to  For more information on the festival, go to “Shine r Evolution: 9 Official” on Facebook.



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