APTA Award

Mountain Line to Host Electric-Bus Concert Series

MISSOULA – Mountain Line is proud to partner with the Montana Area Music Association (MAMA) and the Trail 103.3 to present a five-week, livestream concert series Wednesday nights at 6 p.m. to benefit local musicians. The concert series launches August 19 and runs through September 16.  

The series, dubbed the Electric Stream Sessions, will feature local musicians playing inside one of Mountain Line’s new electric buses. Concerts will be livestreamed on Mountain Line’s Facebook page and available on the agency’s YouTube channel for post-stream viewing. 

“Mountain Line gets people to work, to school and to the doctor, and part of Mountain Line’s mission is to connect our community,” said Corey Aldridge, Mountain Line general manager. “This year, fulfilling that missions means getting creative.”  

The five-part series will feature local solo acts and duets from the same household, with Missoula staples, such as Tom Catmull, sharing the stage with up-and-coming artists like Elijah Jalil, whose debut album is expected in the coming months.  

This year has been hard on everyone and particularly hard on local artists.  

While Mountain Line is sponsoring the venue and organizing the concerts, several local businesses have come together to sponsor each performing artist directly, providing free entertainment for the community, while ensuring artists are compensated. Links to musicians’ virtual tip jars will also be posted in the concert livestreams. 

“Beyond the financial impact of COVID-19, which is significant, there are far fewer opportunities for us to share our music with the community,” said Maria Zepeda, executive director of MAMA and local musician. “Mountain Line is offering a safe and unique platform for musicians to connect with a wider audience, which benefits us and the Missoula community.”  

Silas Smith and Maria Zepeda from Emzee & Silas

To ensure everyone’s health and safety, musicians will perform on the electric bus while completely alone, and all duet partners in the series live in the same household.  

Producer Jeff McClain, from Arrowroot Productions, will be monitoring audio and video from a sound booth outside the bus, while Mountain Line staff will handle social media from afar. All surfaces inside the bus will be sanitized between artists, windows will be open and masks will be worn during change overs.  

“It might be one of the most unique venues I’ll ever sing in,” said Zepeda, who is lead vocalist for Emzee and Silas, performing August 26. “But I also love that this venue, an electric bus, is connecting our music with a symbol of sustainability and clean air.” 

Mountain Line debuted its first six electric buses last summer and secured $4.6 million in federal funding this year to purchase six additional electric buses. These additional buses will bring Mountain Line’s fleet to 40 percent all-electric, getting the agency that much closer to its goal of zero-tailpipe-emissions by 2035. 

“Mountain Line is always looking for ways to further benefit this community, from clean air and decreased traffic congestion, to increasing mobility for seniors and those with disabilities,” said Aldridge. “This year, we saw a way to benefit our community by connecting local musicians with viewers at home. A connected community is a healthy community, and that benefits us all.” 

For a full concert lineup and more details, visit www.mountainline.com/concert.  

In 2020, Mountain Line committed to a zero-tailpipe-emissions fleet by 2035. This commitment solidified Mountain Line’s long-standing commitment to clean air, public health and a more sustainable future. Mountain Line became a Zero-fare system in 2015, made possible through partnerships with local government, businesses and nonprofits. Since the debut of Zero-fare, ridership has increased 70 percent. Mountain Line now provides more than 1.5 million rides annually, helping students get to school, employees get to work, and helping seniors and people with disabilities stay active, mobile and independent. By reducing the number of single vehicles on the road, lessening traffic congestion and investing in electric buses, Mountain Line benefits us all.