WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS - When people hear "Red Ants Pants," they usually think about the clothing line that’s known for the work pants designed for women; but each summer thousands flock to Central Montana and it’s not to buy a pair of pants.
The Red Ants Pants Music Festival started eight years ago and brings folksy and country artists to a working cow pasture outside White Sulphur Springs.
The first year brought 6,000 people to the festival - impressive for a town with that has a population of less than 1,000. But even more impressive is the growth the event has seen. Last year, there were 16,500 attendees.
Despite being more than three months away, hundreds of people gathered in White Sulphur to find out who will be playing on the main stages this year.
“Over the years it’s evolved from standing on the desk to know we have a whole block party. Honestly, this time of year we are all so darn sick of winter and calving season and everyone needs to get out of their homes and shake it up a bit,” said Red Ants Pants Music Festival founder Sarah Calhoun.
As people packed the small theater on Main Street, Calhoun went through each band who will be playing throughout the three day festival in July.
“It’s all of a sudden real that everyone’s in town excited to find out who’s coming and it’s really exciting that Dwight Yoakam will be headlining this year,” she said with a smile.
Yoakam is a 21-time Grammy nominee and has sold more than 25 million albums worldwide. Other performers include Pam Tillis and Lorrie Morgan; Supaman; Shovels and Rope; Steep Canyon Rangers; Junior Brown; Jim Lauderdale;and Lindi Ortega. Throughout the weekend, there will be 16 main stage and 14 side stage performances.
“We’re absolutely thrilled with this year’s lineup and are certain that everyone who joins us will know many of the songs by heart while also finding their next favorite band,” Calhoun said in a press release.
The Festival kicks off with a free street dance Thursday, July 26 and runs through Sunday, July 29.
Tickets are available at the Red Ants Pants store in downtown White Sulphur Springs as well as other small businesses and new this year, camping passes can be purchased with cash at hard ticket outlets.
Ticket Price Information:
3-Day Pass $145 in advance/$160 at the gate
Single Day Pass $55 in advance/$60 at the gate
VIP Weekend 3-Day Pass $500 (limited quantity)
Camping Pass $25