BOZEMAN – As the last day of the week-long rock festival, Rockin’ the Rivers simmered down, long-time festival campers tried to stop and savor the moment.
The day started off right at noon, and five-time festival attender Lorraine Swift lit up the dance floor as she moved to the beat. For Swift, the festival is all about having fun and meeting new people.
“So much fun, a lot of good energy, positive people. Family. It is like a family reunion,” said Swift. “People look forward to this all year. They plan for it all year, and come here and have all kinds of excitement going on. It’s beautiful, it’s a beautiful experience.”
The rock festival has been going on for nearly two decades and brings in people from all over the nation and world. According to one of the owners, Jill Hamilton, they expect 4,000 people to come to the venue each day.
“They love to tell their stories when they come through,” said Hamilton. “They love to tell us how many years they have been coming, all of the memorabilia they have been collecting, and the friends that they are going to meet here. “
For camper Dave Freeman, it is all about the people he gets to meet. He has been attending the festival from the very beginning and each year looks forward to a weekend where he can “let loose.” His campsite, Kamp Topshelf, has become so popular it even has its own Facebook page.
Kamp Topshelf is made up of eight different campsites and is Freeman’s ideal man cave, furnished with a pool table, Foosball, and about half a dozen recliners. In total it takes him about six hours to set up on Thursday, the day before the festivities begin.
“It’s fun, you do all this work and they are like, ‘you brought a pool table?’ You know I hear that and it makes you beam," said Freeman. "They are surprised for what you do for everyone to play. I just tell people we build it for everyone to play, and they do.”
When asked what brings Freeman back each year he answered without hesitation.
“The people, the music is just a bonus.”