Wildlands Festival 2023 Day Two at Big Sky Events Arena in Big Sky, MT

Big Sky Wildlands Festival day two was a thunderous triumph with Foo Fighters, The Breeders, and Taipei Houston despite nature’s wrath.

The Wildlands Festival roared into its second day with an electrifying lineup that left the audience exhilarated despite a weather-related hiccup. Headlined by the legendary Foo Fighters, supported by indie darlings The Breeders and up-and-coming sensation Taipei Houston, the event proved to be a rollercoaster of emotions, music, and Mother Nature’s unpredictability.

The excitement was palpable as fans streamed into the festival grounds, eager to experience the eclectic mix of musical styles promised by the day’s lineup. The mood was upbeat with festival-goers from all walks of life coming together to celebrate the power of music amidst the stunning backdrop of Big Sky’s natural beauty.

The evening began with a burst of energy from Taipei Houston, a relatively new player in the music scene. The garage rock duo consists of the two sons of Metallica drummer Lars Ulrich: drummer Myles (24) and vocalist/bassist Layne (21). Despite their newcomer status, the duo’s infectious blend of hard rock had the crowd cheering and grooving from the get-go. Taipei Houston set the bar for an evening that will not be soon forgotten.

The Breeders took the stage next, their legendary alt-rock status shining brightly. Kim Deal’s signature voice carried a raw, nostalgic power that resonated deeply with the audience. The rain-kissed backdrop seemed tailor-made for their grunge-infused sound. They launched into hits like “Drivin’ on 9” and “Divine Hammer,” and the crowd was quickly getting into it.

Just as their set was reaching its peak, a distant rumble of thunder brought a momentary halt to the festivities. Safety protocols kicked in, and the audience was directed to take shelter as a swift and unexpected thunderstorm approached. Rain poured down, punctuated by flashes of lightning that momentarily illuminated the mountains.

An hour-long delay ensued but the crowd’s spirits remained undampened. The Wildlands’ staff, who had already handled a similar situation the night before, swiftly navigated the situation with professionalism and care. In the end, however, too much time had passed and The Breeders were unable to finish their set. The audience was denied the chance to hear their biggest hit, “Cannonball,” but they remained hopeful that Foo Fighters would still be able to perform. The Breeders’ performance was a nod to the past while showing their relevance in the present, solidifying their status as timeless icons.

And then came the moment everyone had been waiting for, like a lightning bolt of rock ‘n’ roll energy, the mighty Foo Fighters exploded onto the stage, electrifying the crowd with a barrage of hits that spanned their illustrious career. Dave Grohl’s boundless charisma and unmatched stage presence had the entire audience in the palm of his hand. “Everlong” evoked swaying lighters and emotional singalongs, while “The Pretender” incited a sea of frenzied headbanging. The hour-long delay faded into a distant memory as Foo Fighters delivered an unforgettable performance that surpassed all expectations.

As the final chords of the encore faded into the night, it was clear that day two of the Wildlands Festival had been a triumph. The fusion of music and the stunning Montana landscape created an atmosphere that was nothing short of magical. Despite the challenges presented by the weather, the festival staff’s professionalism and the crowd’s unwavering enthusiasm made for a seamless recovery. Foo Fighters played their entire set well into the night, and the crowd danced and sang along in the mud. It was a muddy mountain party with Foo Fighters and a very fortunate few of their friends in the shadow of Lone Peak, and an amazing once-in-a-lifetime experience was had by all.

The weather delay had only heightened the anticipation, resulting in a cathartic release of energy from both the stage and the dedicated fans below. The Outlaw Partners put on a spectacular party, bringing some of the biggest names in music to Big Sky. The guest of honor, Foo Fighters, kicked the door down to the party that is the last best-kept secret of Big Sky and the Wildlands Festival.

WILDLANDS FESTIVAL
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About George Ortiz 67 Articles
George is Southern California and Big Sky, Montana-based photographer. He grew up in Los Angeles and began shooting professionally in the mid 80s. His words and photos have appeared in local & national publications.