The official winter welcome

Four bands round out fifth installment of Jack Frost Fest

By Lyndsie Kiebert-Carey
Reader Staff

In the five years since its inception, Jack Frost Fest has grown from a modest, ticketed concert event to a free, all-day celebration of music, community and, above all, the coming winter.

A huge part of that evolution, according to Robb Talbott of Mattox Farm Productions — which hosts the event — was last year’s move to the Granary District between Oak and Church streets, as well as the partnership that formed with the area’s businesses, such as Matchwood Brewing and Evans Brothers Coffee.

The cold didn’t phase music lovers at the 2021 Jack Frost Fest, which was held in the Granary District for the first time. Courtesy photo.

“I love the location,” Talbott said. “It feels more community-oriented.”

The fifth Jack Frost Fest is slated for Saturday, Nov. 19 from noon-7 p.m. and will mostly retain the same format as last year, with bands playing music on two stages and the entire community invited to join the fun for free. Creations will also be on hand noon-4 p.m., providing arts and crafts for kids.

“Looks like it’s going to be fairly cold, but sunny and clear,” Talbott said. “It’s always nice to see people bundle up, come out and have some fun, despite it not being 80 degrees and sunny.”

Talbott estimates that last year’s Jack Frost Fest drew 400 to 500 attendees.

“All day long, people were trickling in and we had a great turnout,” he said.

Local band Scott Taylor and the Endless Switchbacks will kick off the music at noon, bringing what Talbott called “Americana with a Grateful Dead vibe” to the loading dock stage.

“Their name, the ‘Endless Switchbacks,’ points us up the hill, which is a good way to get the winter party started,” he said.

Next up, playing two sets on the Matchwood stage 1:30-2:30 p.m. and 4-5 p.m., will be local outfit Ben and the Buds, fronted by Ben Murray.

“You’re going to get some of that old school rock and you’re going to get some of those beachy … island vibes, to feel warmer even if we’re not in a warm climate,” Talbott said of Ben and the Buds. “It’s danceable stuff. It’s feel-good music.”

Playing the 2:30-4 p.m. set on the loading dock — as well as the unofficial Jack Frost Fest after party at Eichardt’s Pub at 7 p.m. — will be Missoula-based bluegrass band The Timber Rattlers, who Talbott said are “not messing around” when it comes to fiddle-slaying, bass-thumping roots music.

“A boot-stomping, high-energy set of music is what you can expect at a Timber show,” violinist Jesse Brown told the Reader, “and we are happy to play our music for the fine folks of Sandpoint.”

Rounding out this year’s Jack Frost Fest lineup is Spokane-based Gin, Smoke & Lies — a group known for Turnpike Troubadour-inspired outlaw country — playing the loading dock 5-6:30 p.m.

“We’re a group of honky-tonk troubadours from Kootenai County, bringing our tunes all around the Northwest,” said vocalist Sam McCue. “We recently released our first single ‘Something to Prove’ on all streaming platforms and can’t wait to try and get it stuck in everyone’s heads on Saturday.”

Talbott said he’s excited to see what Jack Frost Fest — now an entirely sponsor-driven event — will “grow into.”

“It’s amazing to me that there’s been five years of it,” he said, recalling the great turnout the event saw in its first year at the Granary District. “That really felt good. It felt like a really good way to do it, and a community-style way to do it. We look forward to continuing to do it that way and working with Matchwood and Evans Brothers.”

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