Meagher County, specifically the Jackson Ranch a couple of miles from White Sulphur Springs, was THE place for great music, friends to gather and good times to be had this past weekend.
For the past four years Red Ants Pants clothing company (workwear for women) has organized this amazing music festival.
It is best described as a party in a pasture.
Let me explain.
A huge stage is moved in and set up in the middle of a cow pasture, a massive camping area is created, many porta potties are delivered and vendors from all over Montana form a backdrop with their displays.
A make-shift corral serves as a place to educate festival attendees about traditional horsemanship on working ranches.
Blacksmithing, horse shoeing, draft horse log pulling and a crosscut saw competition round out some of the traditional work skills demos.
New this year was a kid’s area with face painting, treats, some shade from the sun and changing tables/baby potties for tiny tykes. Yes, this is a family affair!
The town of White Sulphur Springs closed off a street for Thursday night’s street dance. Two bands played and I heard it was great. I wasn’t able to attend that event. Bummer.
Friday’s schedule kicked off with a set by the side stage band that won a people’s choice award last year.
The side stage is for those up-and-coming groups that hope to make it big someday, at least to the Red Ants Pants main stage! One of the bands scheduled in the Friday line-up had to cancel but an amazing replacement band was scheduled.
My long-time favorite Ian Tyson played and sang Friday night. I remember many of the 60s folk songs when he was half of the duo Ian and Sylvia. Tyson is a Canadian-born cowboy though and the songs he played Friday rang true to that.
If Ian Tyson is a favorite musician, my most favorite recording by him is The Gift.
He didn’t disappoint – about two thirds of the way through his performance he sang it.
The song is a wonderful tribute to deceased cowboy artist Charlie Russell. I can still hear him singing it and still remember the rousing applause. Yup, the crowd loved it too!
Saturday’s schedule started at noon and ran non-stop until 11pm.
Sunday’s music kicked off again at noon and wrapped after country artist/festival headliner Charley Pride left the stage at 6pm.
What a weekend! I could go on and on about the great musicians. Better yet, plan to attend next year – the 5th Annual Red Ants Pants Music Festival!
Red Ants Pants Music Festival donates proceeds from the weekend to the Red Ants Pants Foundation. Their mission is to develop and expand leadership roles for women, support and preserve working family farms and ranches, and to enrich and promote rural communities.
Great goals, and an even greater weekend in the small rural community of White Sulphur Springs.