Headwaters Country Jam is what Montana is all about, according to festival-goers: country music, beer and camping.

“We’re all here for the same reason,” Julie Curtis said. “And it’s a good reason to bring everyone out here.”

Country Jam was held outside Three Forks from June 13 to 15. In its 12th year, Big & Rich, Kelsea Ballerini and Rodney Atkins headlined this year’s festival, and Mark Chesnutt, Rachel Lipsky and Jessica Lynn were among the other performers. Camping was offered on-site, and there were plenty of activities and food to be had throughout the day.

For concert-goer Garrett Nash, Big & Rich was his favorite part of the festival, hands down.

“Big & Rich is pretty much our childhood,” he said.

From Idaho originally, Nash said he grew up listening to country music. His favorite part is the story it tells.

“I think it’s honest,” he said.

For most festival attendees, Country Jam was a celebration of country music. Nicole McCracken, a student at Montana State University, went to the concert with her friend, Madeleine Kothman.

Set in a giant field with the mountains as a backdrop, McCracken said the festival was the picture of Montana. To her, country music is about passion, with “so much soul.”

“It always reminds me of the summertime,” Kothman added.

Todd Miller, from Helena, came with family and friends. He said he liked the multi-generational aspect to it, and he likes how country music has evolved.

“It just speaks to us,” he said.

Having the festival in Montana was a point of pride for many attendees. Tammi Krahel said there aren’t many other festivals like it in the region, and it’s a great setting for the genre.

She bought her tickets in early January to ensure she’d get a good spot for her camper. She said most attendees were friendly and fun, and she enjoyed people-watching. Artists seemed to enjoy the event, too, she said.

“Most of us are proud to have them and recognize how special it is to have them in Montana,” she said.

Abby Lynes can be reached at alynes@dailychronicle.com or 406-582-2651. Follow her on Twitter @Abby_Lynes.

Abby Lynes covers business and the economy for the Bozeman Daily Chronicle.

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