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Basic Conference Details

Conference locations

Montana Agricultural Center

1205 20th St, Fort Benton, MT 59442

Registration is at this location. All conference events except showcases take place at this location.

Fort Benton Elementary School

1406 Franklin St, Fort Benton, MT 59442

Showcases take place at this location on Saturday, January 28. WESTAF one-to-one sessions scheduled on Saturday morning before Showcase I will also take place here.

Is there a virtual attendance option?

Unfortunately we cannot offer a virtual attendance option for the 2023 conference.

Conference shuttle provided between Agricultural Center and showcase venue!

Thanks to the Fort Benton School District, a bus will be provided for transportation between the Agricultural Center and the Elementary School before and after each showcase! Please use this shuttle for attending showcases as parking near the school is limited.

Travel Information

Grand Union Hotel, Fort Benton, MT



Grand Union Hotel (10% discount for MPAC conference attendees)

1 Grand Union Square, Fort Benton, MT 59442


Pioneer Lodge

1700 Front St, Fort Benton, MT 59442


Guest Houses

Click here for information on guest houses in Fort Benton.

Click here for more lodging recommendations from Missouri River Outfitters

Getting to Fort Benton

Air Travel

The closest airport is the Great Falls Airport (GTF).


Some travelers opt to fly to bigger cities that are serviced by more airlines (i.e. Bozeman). This is a viable option but that means more driving. Check your driving route to make sure it works for you!

Renting a Car

Car rental agencies are located at the GTF airport and are listed on this page (scroll down).

The trip between Great Falls and Fort Benton takes just under 1 hour when the weather and road conditions are good. Keep in mind that the conference is in January and winter weather can cause delays! Be prepared and allow extra time for driving.

Are you interested in a ride-share?

If you'd like to share a car or rental car with another conference attendee add your information to this ride share list.

Complimentary Shuttle from GTF to Fort Benton

Missouri River Outfitters is generously donating shuttle services for MPAC attendees flying to GTF to attend the conference!

Shuttle sign-ups have ended. Please make arrangements for ground transportation on your own.

A snowy highway in Montana - by Dorian Antipa

Info for all conference participants


Where do I start? At the registration table!

The registration table is at the Agricultural Center (aka "Ag Center"). The table is open and staffed on Friday at least one hour before scheduled events start. It is also staffed all day Saturday. This is where you'll pick up your conference packet and badge. A registration table is not set up on Sunday but staff will be present at the Grand Union Hotel's first floor meeting room.

How do I know who's who?

Artists have blue lanyards and conference folders. Presenters have yellow lanyards and conference folders. The main contact person for an organization will have a blue dot on their badge. MPAC board members are further identified with flag attached to the bottom section of their badge. Access to the resource room is by badge only so please keep yours with you for the duration of the conference. 

When can I take more time to talk business?

Scheduled Resource Room times are the best opportunities for artists, managers, and presenters to meet. You can also meet during the Artist Jam Session, breaks, and meals. An attendance list with contact information will be provided so you can follow up after the conferences.

Please help us reduce waste and conserve resources.

Disposable cups are provided for water and beverages but MPAC encourages the use of sustainable containers to help reduce waste. A limited supply of reusable MPAC-branded coffee mugs are available to purchase for $10!

Please keep an eye out for labelled recycling bins for paper and metal.

MPAC also re-uses conference badge lanyards and participant folders. Please drop off your folder and badge/lanyard in a designated bin before you leave. PLUS recycling your conference badge enters you for the Badge Raffle!

Conference Evaluations

Your feedback is valuable and directly impacts how we plan the annual conference, decide what to put on the website, and in the conference materials. There are evaluation forms specifically for artists and presenters and they will be included in your conference folder. An online form will also be provided and emailed to participants after the conference. 

Showcase Evaluations

At the request of showcasing artists, MPAC supplies a short showcase evaluation form. This voluntary form is intended to provide additional perspective to performing artists from presenters and other artists. Artists use the information to make improvements to their future performances and showcases. 

Questions about

Showcase venue

The showcases take place in the auditorium at Fort Benton Elementary School. All showcases are on Saturday and they are open to the public. Refer to the schedule for more detailed information. Doors open 15 minutes before the showcase starts. A free bus is available for transportation between the Agricultural center and the Elementary School.

Resource Room

Access is by conference badge only! Showcasing artists, plus other artists and managers who are not showcasing, set up booths in the Resource Room with samples of their work and information related to booking. A detailed Resource Room map with artist booths labeled will be provided in your conference folder. We encourage artists to visit other artist booths if time permits. Etiquette is important in the resource room! Click here to see Resource Room Guidelines.

Are there break rooms and refreshments?

Coffee, water, and tea are provided throughout the conference. On Saturday morning, a continental breakfast is provided by the Fort Benton Women's Club at the Elementary School (where the first showcase takes place).

Check the schedule for breaks.

Questions about EVENTS

What is the Turn-the-Tables event?

For an hour, artists and presenters literally switch places in the resource room! Presenter representatives are assigned a table where they can display season brochures and other information about their venues. Artists have the opportunity to move about the room and meet with presenter reps. 

What's the Badge Raffle?

As an incentive to turn in badges, we use your name cards from the badges in a raffle! If your badge is drawn, you'll have a chance to choose from a variety of prizes. Winners must be present to claim their prize.

What is the Artist Jam?

The Jam is an informal, artist-run gathering of attendees held Saturday night after dinner. Participation is voluntary and open to all to come watch both showcasing and resource room artists entertain their peers. No special registration is required—just show up! Beverage are available at a no-host bar. The location is TBA and will be announced at the conference.

Joint Closing Session

Artists and presenters are welcome to the Joint Closing Session on Sunday at the Grand Union Hotel. Participants have the opportunity to share their thoughts on the conference experience and the final badge raffle is held.

Block booking meeting 

This conference event is for presenters only. During this time presenters gather to discuss possibilities for ​the next season(s). The Sunday morning meeting is typically when they see if there is enough interest in specific artists to form a tour. 

Info for Artists & Agents

Will artists representatives need to have live presence?

Yes, resource room times will be in person. 

Who will I meet at MPAC?

Artists and agents will be able to meet many rural Montana presenters who do not attend large regional conferences like ANW, APAP, and WAA. There are several who fit this category! MPAC typically draws 17-20 Montana-based presenters to its conference. 

I can't stay for the whole conference, what days or events should I prioritize?

Artist-presenter networking events are mainly on Friday and Saturday, January 27-28. Resource room hours are scheduld only for Saturday, January 28.


Most of the tech/soundcheck times will be on Friday afternoon and evening. If you are showcasing, it is important that you (or your group) have planned for the assigned tech time.

There is a final block-booking meeting, closing session, and board meeting on Sunday. However if artists or managers miss the Sunday events, that's OK!

What do I need to know about adapting my show for outreach events?

Educational outreach is a priority for Montana presenters! Check out this article with tips on how to connect with young audiences by our Artist Representative and the violist of the Cascade Quartet, Alyssa Roggow. 

Is the Artist Meeting on Saturday night important?

YES! This meeting is scheduled on Saturday because we are aware that many must leave by Sunday morning. You won't miss any important networking events because all the presenters will be in the first Block Booking Meeting at the same time. During this time artists elect a representative for a 1-year term on the MPAC Board. It's also a chance to discuss how their MPAC conference experience and make ssuggestions for improvements. Feedback is reported to MPAC's Board of Directors by the current Artist Board Representative. 

What do I need to know about the Artist Jam Session?

Saturday night after dinner, the sound engineer and stage crew provide a basic set-up with amplification (location TBD). Performers are invited to jam! Spontaneous collaboration is a highlight of this event and it is well attended by conference registrants. Please be courteous to fellow artists, perform one act at a time and allow everyone who wants to participate a chance to do so. Shorter performances are most conducive to this setting. 

What other resources are there?

Representatives from WESTAF and the Montana Arts Council will be present. You can sign up for a one-to-one consultation with a WESTAF representative on Friday.

Conference attendees are a great resource and we pride ourselves on the friendly and collegial atmosphere. You will find a wealth of information by talking to MPAC staff, veteran participants, board members, and experienced artists, agents, and presenters. 

Info for Presenters


What is the presenter registration deadline?

Early bird registration is available until January 6, 2023. ​Registration deadline is January 16th.

What is the regular member registration fee?

The fees are on a sliding scale, which is determined by organization size and budget. Click here for presenter registration fees and information.

My organization will have multiple conference attendees. What is the fee for each extra participant?

Each additional participant registration fee is is available at the early-bird discount rate of $50 until January 6. After January 6 the additional participant fee is $65.

Block booking meeting 

This conference event is for presenters only. During this time presenters gather to discuss possibilities for ​the next season(s). The Sunday morning meeting is typically when they see if there is enough interest in specific artists to form a tour. 

Is there a virtual attendance option?

Unfortunately we cannot offer a virtual attendance option for the 2023 conference.

The Montana Performing Arts Consortium annual artist showcase and conference relies on grant support from Montana’s Cultural Trust, the Montana Arts Council, and the National Endowment for the Arts.

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