Update 6/23 - The Shook Twins have been forced to cancel due to illness. The show schedule has been re-arranged and Wes Urbaniak at the Mountain Folk will help fill the stage on Friday night. 

I've lived in Billings for a long time and I'm somewhat embarrassed to admit that I have never been to what was formerly known as the Red Oxx Events lawn. Until recently, I have whizzed by the venue probably a hundred times on 4th Ave North, barely giving the grassy knoll a passing glance. Last week, I got to take a tour of this hidden gem in downtown Billings hosted by Red Oxx CEO Jim Markel. Let's take a look.

Michael Foth, Townsquare Media
Michael Foth, Townsquare Media
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A recent expansion prompts a name change for the venue.

Now rebranded as 406 Events Lawn the outdoor multi-use space has nearly doubled in size. They've expanded the venue footprint that now encompasses a third of a city block, on the corners of 4th Ave N and N 13th/N14th St.

Photos by Michael Foth, Townsquare Media
Photos by Michael Foth, Townsquare Media
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A funky, artsy, genuinely unique venue in the heart of downtown.

Markel's passion for the Event Lawn was evident as he showed us around the grounds. The Red Oxx company is well known for its rugged, heavy-duty lines of travel and work luggage, backpacks, and bags, but Jim is also a passionate artist. The thick, steel plate fencing that surrounds the venue was all hand-cut by Jim and many of the sculptures on the property are his work.

Gravel pathways meander throughout the grounds that are studded with unique pieces of art and metalwork. On our tour last week, workers were putting the finishing touches on a commercial kitchen building, his-n-hers dressing rooms/restroom buildings, a new soundboard mixer tower, and other improvements.

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Photos by Michael Foth, Townsquare Media
Photos by Michael Foth, Townsquare Media
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On-site art studio, a neon shop, and a giant wood-fired pizza oven.

As a member of the Billings Industrial Revitalization District (BIRD) the 406 Events Lawn is a great example of what's to come in the slowly emerging area between downtown proper and the Metra. What was once mostly dark warehouses and industrial lots are now becoming attractive places to eat, shop, and play in Billings.

More than just a concert venue.

Markel envisions the Events Lawn as a place for more than just outdoor concerts. With room for up to approximately 1,000 people, the space can be rented in increments that meet your needs. Perhaps you don't need a concert space, but are looking for a corporate banquet setting or wedding venue? Or maybe you need a place to host a fundraising event? You can rent one-half of the Events Lawn or the whole thing.

Credit: 406 Events Lawn, used with permission
Credit: 406 Events Lawn, used with permission
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Celebrate its grand re-opening this weekend with the Oxxbird Music Festival.

Markel said he never really planned on making the concert promotion business his full-time job and for the most part, he prefers to rent the venue to promoters like Pub Station Presents. He does work on a handful of concerts each year on the lawn, and this weekend is one of them.

Images provided by 406 Events Lawn
Images provided by 406 Events Lawn
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The two-day festival is on June 24th and 25th.

The Oxxbird Music Festival kicks off Friday night, June 24th with the opening act Salt and Shadow, followed by Shook Twins. Their bio reads,

Since their 2008 debut You Can Have The Rest, Shook Twins have conjured up dreamy folk with ghostly traces of Americana tradition uplifted by transcendently hummable melodies and lilting cinematic instrumentation.

On Saturday, multiple bands hit the stage throughout the afternoon with Satsang, Jacob Rountree and the Somethings, Wes Urbaniak and the Mountain Folk, Quiet Coyote, and Power. Moontricks headlines the night. I listened to a couple of tracks from Moontricks, and they're extremely talented. Their bio reads,

...an authentically raw and seductive sound infusing grassroots blues, wistful soul, and gritty, boot stomping bass. From rural beginnings to global festival states, this humble due is now taking on the world. Dazzling audiences with their infectious vibe and unmistakable rhythm, Moontricks are clear proof that originality and passion can spark a creative odyssey.   

Tickets for the Oxxbird Music Festival can be found HERE.

Billings Brewery Walking Trail