Volunteers from across the United States, as well as from Mozambique, Canada and Switzerland, helped out at the Red Ants Pants Music Festival this year. While many of the concert-goers were from Montana and surrounding states, a few came from as far as Europe and Asia.
This year, the third annual Red Ants Pants Music Festival brought a record crowd of 10,500 concert-goers to the small ranching community of White Sulphur Springs during the weekend of July 25th through 28th. The influx was a windfall to the town as well as the nonprofit foundation that the music festival supports.
The Doris Cafe on Main Street said they had their best day in 35 years on Friday, and all four hotels in White Sulphur were booked solid for the entire weekend. The Bair Museum in Martinsdale, which is more than 30 miles outside of White Sulphur Springs, nearly doubled its average attendance on Sunday.
George & Sharon Mongar, who own Grandma's Antiques & Collectibles, said they had the biggest day of the year during the festival. Supplies bought for the festival supported the local community as well as the towns of Great Falls, Bozeman, and Lewiston.
Concert-goers listened to 15 phenomenal performers on the main stage along with 13 side stage bands. They could choose between 20 different food vendors, and shop at 30 different craft vendors. Sixty-five people, including a cowboy in wranglers, joined the sunrise yoga session Saturday morning. The ages ranged from 7 to 69. Local favorite Ben Bullington played an encore performance of his song, "White Sulphur Springs" before Merle Haggard came on stage.
We are proud to report that during the three-day outdoor music festival there were no law enforcement incidents. The weather was beautiful and the sunsets were incredible. Heartless Bastards called it "the most unique festival" they have played.
Side stage performers competed for the chance to move to the main stage next year. The Hasslers, a five piece folk-rock outfit based in Missoula "playing hard-hittin' MT folk rock" won the side-stage competition and will be playing the main stage for Red Ants Pants Music Festival 2014, July 24th-27th.
The Montana Beard & Mustache State Finals drew 30 competitors in four categories. The winners were:
Vinnie Contreras - Full Beard Winner (Martin City, MT)
Harlan Olsen - Freestyle Beard Winner (Bozeman, MT)
Steve Schwartz - Moustache Winner
Harry Hollmen - Partial Beard Winner
Jess Carroll and Anne Rickbeil, both Red Lodge Mountain employees, sawed their way to a three-peat win in the crosscut competition.
The proceeds from the concert benefit the Red Ants Pants Foundation, a nonprofit organization in support of women's leadership, working farms and ranches, and rural communities. The festival, which is in its third year, is organized by the Red Ants Pants Foundation, in conjunction with Red Ants Pants, the White Sulphur Springs based company dedicated to making workwear for women.
Festival organizers would like to extend a huge thanks to the residents of Meagher Country, firefighters, security, EMT, local law enforcement, Tom Garnsey of Vootie Productions in Bozeman for booking the talent, and to the concert-goers for making this festival a success.
For a link to photos of this year's festival, please click here.