You can call it a music festival (and it is) but it is so much more! It’s a celebration of rural life, of family, of small and big towns, all happening in the middle of a pasture just outside of White Sulphur Springs.
The town of White Sulphur Springs has almost a thousand people living there but attendance at Red Ants Pants Music Festival tops 16,000. Just a few good folks over for a visit! The event runs smoothly though, thanks to some good organizers.
We arrived Saturday about 11am and the crowd was pretty laid back. I was surprised at how many campers there were at the pasture-turned-campground. We chose the “quiet side” of the campground, parked the pickup, unhooked the trailer, then walked over to the festival entrance to get our wristbands.
It was noon and the Main Stage had a performer (Monica Rizzio) that had just started so we unpacked our chairs and put up a sunshade that I had. I had never heard of this gal but she had an amazingly strong voice! Every hour and a half another performer took the stage. There is also a side stage where up and coming performers play with hopes of making it to the Main Stage. In fact, each year you can vote for the top performer on the side stage and they open the next year’s festival.
Parker Milsap, Asleep at the Wheel and Lucinda Williams were top on my list to see and hear and they performed that evening. We listed to a lot of performers, all good with different styles, walked around and looked at the different vendors, and noshed on some yummy foods from 23 different food trucks. Each year the food is different and that’s part of the fun at this
festival. I can personally recommend red curry steak mac ‘n cheese and coconut lime sorbet. Wow, amazing food!
A nice variety of other vendors are at the festival including leather makers, potters, metal workers, painters, jewelry makers and the list goes on, 35 in all. I bought one pottery mug with red ants dancing around it – a good memory when I have my morning coffee.
One side of the festival grounds has a skills demonstration area. You could watch crosscut sawyers in competition, learn about mule packing, axe throwing, ranch roping and my favorite – trailer backing. I could use the trailer backing!
The 2018 Red Ants Pants Music Festival will be July 26-29, same location, and I’ve already marked the date on my long term calendar. Maybe next year I can take in a couple days or attend the opening street dance on White Sulphur Springs’ main street.
I’m already looking forward to it.