MISSOULA – A 100-year-old tradition at the University of Montana, the Foresters’ Ball, will celebrate its centennial with performances by musicians Reckless Kelly and Steve Frame on Friday and Saturday, Feb. 3-4, in Schreiber Gymnasium. The dance will run from 7 p.m. to midnight both nights.
Students spend the week before transforming the gym into a turn-of-the-century logging town with a saloon, general store, jail, chapel and museum. This year’s theme, “Choppin’ Wood and Lookin’ Good,” was selected by Chief Push Kate Page, a senior majoring in forestry from John Day, Oregon.
“We had to do something spectacular to celebrate a century of the Foresters’ Ball, so that’s why we brought in a band like Reckless Kelly,” Page said. “The Foresters’ Ball, so steeped in history, has been a wonderful memory for generations of UM students, and we wanted to make this one especially great.”
Tickets are on sale online now at GrizTix (http://www.umt.edu/griztix/) and will be available the week of Jan. 30 in the University Center. Tickets are available to the public, and the community is invited to attend. For those who want to see the Foresters’ Ball “town” before the event, it's open to the public from 10 a.m. to noon Saturday.
Reckless Kelly is an Austin-based band led by Cody and Willy Braun. Their song “Radio” was named song of the week in November by Alt Root Magazine. Their 2016 release Sunset Motel debuted at No. 8 on the Billboard Americana/Folk Albums Chart and No. 12 on the Billboard Country Albums Chart. Additionally, the band debuted at No. 1 on the Texas Regional Radio Report Chart. In 2013, their album Long Night Moon received a Grammy for Best Recording Package.
Wyoming musician Steve Frame also will perform both nights of the ball, along with Benjo.
Sobriety is a condition of entry to the Foresters’ Ball. Bags will be checked, and all alcohol will be confiscated. However, a beer garden will be offered from 7:30 to 10 p.m. both nights. Attendees 21 and older can purchase beer that must be consumed in the beer garden.
Proceeds from the event fund scholarships for students who put in at least 80 hours of work planning, constructing and taking down the venue. Students and alumni started working in September to cut the slabs used to construct the ball. Construction begins the Monday before the ball and runs 12 hours a day, up to an hour before Friday’s dance.