Red Ants Pants Music Fest A captivating Montana backdrop draws record attendance at fifth annual event

If Montana summers had a soundtrack, surely they would sound like the quick-rolling thunderstorms of White Sulphur Springs—distant and brooding and followed by rainbows—capped with liquid blue skies, sparkling sunsets, and nights as thick as molasses, rich with shooting stars. With, of course, a live concert and raging dance party in a cow pasture.

More than 14,000 people descended on such a setting for the fifth Red Ants Pants Music Festival, a three-day event held annually in July just outside of White Sulphur Springs, population 970.

“It was definitely one for the books, and we could not have done it without the support of the White Sulphur Springs community,” said Sarah Calhoun, Red Ants Pants Music Festival founder and producer.

Holly Williams (of the Hank Williams family), during her Saturday afternoon performance, looked across the festival crowd while retelling her arrival in Montana. Her husband Chris Coleman (Kings of Leon), who played by her side, was so taken with the surroundings, Williams was worried he wouldn’t leave.

“Something’s resonating deep inside of me,” Williams said of Montana.

Across each day, artists, attendees, and staff gave off similar vibes, reverberating with the vast countryside and the curated musical experience that brought Canadian folk, Nashville blues, American roots music, Texas country, and more to the Montana landscape.

Ryan Bingham brought the RAPMF audience to a Saturday apex, creating such a stomping grounds that dust rose high above the dancing crowd into the pitch of Montana’s night, a melodious crown to the music of the past two days.

It was in this connectivity to place, the circling of chords in such beauty, that has made RAPMF a destination for artists and fans.

“Our measure of success is how well we can bring people together to connect with good folks, celebrate rural Montana and enjoy world-class music that transcends all divides,” said Kathy Weber, PR director for RAPMF. “By that standard, it was a huge success.”

With record attendance, event organizers hail this the most successful RAPMF to date, and by financial measure, the festival raised a significant chunk of money to empower the Red Ants Pants Foundation.

“The thousands of folks who supported this year’s Red Ants Pants Music Festival will have a lasting impact on Montana,” said Weber, “by funding grants for projects that promote women’s leadership, our working family farms and ranches and our rural communities via the Red Ants Pants Foundation.”

SAVE THE DATE

Sixth Annual Red Ants Pants Music Festival
July 28th – 31st, 2016

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About Anna Paige

Anna Paige is a writer, poet, and photographer advocating for live music culture, visual and performance arts, and the creative class in Montana through writing. More >>