Winter Carnival brings out the best at Eichardt’s

Live music, endearing dogs and more

By Ben Olson
Reader Staff

Winter Carnival in Sandpoint is a fun-filled time during what is usually a lingering month of cold weather in Sandpoint. The annual event is made that much better with the various festivities taking place at Eichardt’s Pub, 212 Cedar St.

Left: John Johnson and Henry Christian of Portland, Ore.-based band Hillstomp. Right: Tina Bertram and Cory Chopp of the Western Montana band Way Down North. Courtesy photos.

As one of the more intimate venues in town, Eichardt’s has always been a great spot to enjoy live music. Since its beginning in the early 1990s, the pub was a place where bands traveling between Montana and Washington could do a “gas stop” to break up the tour a little bit and spread some musical cheer along the way.

For the 2022 Winter Carnival, Eichardt’s has a couple of bands worth checking out, including Hillstomp and Way Down North.

Hillstomp will play Eichardt’s Friday, Feb. 25 from 7-10 p.m. This rowdy Portland, Ore. band bills itself as a “junkbox blues duo … infamous for digging through the dumps and forgotten backwoods of American music.” Featuring Henry Christian on guitar and John Johnson on the buckets, Hillstomp recycles the traditional elements into a refreshing and distinctive brand of DIY hill country blues stomp. 

The band adds a bit of everything to the stew, including North Mississippi trance blues, Appalachia and a dash of punkabilly punctuated by the clanging and tumbling noises coming from buckets, cans and barbecue lids — all accompanied by a rambunctious slide guitar.

“Somehow it works,” according to the band, and it does. Despite their homemade instruments and novel approach, Hillstomp creates magic, converting outlaws and traditionalists alike from skeptics into preachers. 

Way Down North will play Eichardt’s on Saturday, Feb. 26 from 7-10 p.m. This duo hails from northwest Montana, performing Americana originals and covers.

Tina Bertram plays the banjo, keyboard and vocals, along with Cory Chopp on the mandolin, guitar and vocals. These two combine talents to bring a mixture of instruments to their gigs at saloons, breweries and weddings across the West.

To cap off the busy weekend, Eichardt’s will host the K9 Keg Pull on Cedar Street out front of the pub, with area pooches competing against one another to pull everything from beer cans to kegs along a track in the snow. It’s one of the most endearing local events here in Sandpoint and is not to be missed, especially because proceeds help support the Better Together Animal Alliance.

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