Next summer, Missoula will have a brand new concert venue on the edges of one of the county’s most economically challenged areas. Nick Chicota, the owner of the Top Hat and The Wilma says he is working with Kettlehouse Brewery to open the venue, which will be called The Kettlehouse Amphitheater. Chicota hopes it will be a destination venue, like The Red Rocks or The Gorge and says it’s going to be built near Milltown.

"It will be near the new Kettlehouse location where they built their new bottling facility, up the Blackfoot at the edge of the Bonner Mill site," Chicota said. "We're building a 4,000 capacity amphitheater, right along the Blackfoot River. There's really a need for a permanent outdoor venue, particularly at a location like this that is kind of the quintessential Montana location for artists coming through in need of a venue in this size range."

Although Chicota won’t disclose any of the bands expected at the venue yet, he is certain the venue will bring more dollars to the area.

"My understanding is right now there are more jobs at the mill than when the mill closed," Chicota said. "As you go up the Blackfoot, you'll get this really nice transition from heavy industrial to light industrial, to the amphitheater. It's a really nice transition, and you aren't going to bring 4,000 people to that area per show and not have an economic impact."

There’s good news for floaters and kayak enthusiasts, Chicota says there won’t be any efforts to prevent people from listening to concerts from the river as long as they don’t get up on the shore. He says the presence of floaters will add a “cool vibe” to the locale.