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Rappin the Rivers coming to the 'Bridge' near Three Forks

Later this week, the inaugural Rappin the Rivers Festival will take place at the "Bridge" near Three Forks.

The event, presented by No-Coast Entertainment, is scheduled for Friday, August 18, and Saturday, August 19, with camping options available for attendees. The event will be the first rap and EDM festival hosted in Montana and will also have food and merchandise vendors. The Rappin the Rivers festival will feature three stages, with music scheduled on August 18 from 4 p.m. to 3 a.m. and August 19 from noon to 3 a.m.

The festival's origin dates back to 2016 when organizer Nickel Barney was approached by his friend Tyg Cooper about the possibility of hosting a hip-hop festival in the same place that is home to the Headwaters Country Jam and Rockin' the Rivers music festivals.

Barney, who is also known as NICKBUSY of the Bozeman-based rap group Filth and Foul, has been promoting local shows since 1997 and said the Rappin the Rivers Festival is the culmination of his journey as a concert buyer and promoter for FilthyFamily and No-Coast Entertainment.

Barney has teamed up with his long-time friend and investor Eric Noyes to bring the vision of Rappin the Rivers to life.

"Eric and I have played softball together for many years, and a few years back, he heard me talking about a vision and idea that my other friend Tyg (Cooper) had told me about. Tyg had worked security for Rockin the Rivers for many years and also was a big supporter of the shows I bring to town. He mentioned to me back in 2016 that I should consider doing a 'Rappin the Rivers Festival' in the same place where 'Rockin' and 'Country Jam' take place," said Barney. "I knew it was a great idea, but as always, it takes money to make money. The money part is where Eric comes in. Eric heard the idea and decided to help put the ball in motion to make Rappin the Rivers a reality. We officially hatched our plan on December 28, 2022, and haven't looked back since."

For Barney, preparing for the biggest event of his booking and promoting career has been a challenge at points, especially because the small group of organizers has done almost everything on their own.

"I have booked all the artists and organized all the local and regional support myself. I have also done social media and hit the streets doing the old-school direct approach with posters and handbills. I have worked with my partner Eric (Noyes) to find our sponsors and handle all the technical stuff that goes into putting a function of this size together," Barney said.

Looking towards this week's event, Barney said they are nervous but very excited to give Montana a great alternative to the other festivals previously established at "The Bridge" near Three Forks.

"The lineup we have is pretty amazing and has a little bit of everything on it, with several famous rappers and DJs performing on both nights. Brother Ali is an amazing performer, and he and Asher Roth will both be performing with live bands at the festival," he said.

Other acts of note listed by Barney include Chevy Woods of Taylor Gang, Total Devastation, The Luniz, Odd Squad Family, OG NIxin, Stevie Stone, Mac Lethal, Carnage the Executioner, Stagga Lee, Filth and Foul, Statik G, Swizzy-B and LoUd Life Crew.

"These artists combined will bring an amazing show to the stage along with the rest of the supporting cast we have added," Barney said.

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"We can't wait to present two full days and nights of hip-hop and EDM music to all of the great people who choose to come out for this first-time event. The festival is, by all means, a home-grown event and a locally-owned business. I'd like to thank everyone who has supported us and helped us make this a reality," Barney said.