Rain, Rain, Hail, Sunburn or The Red Ants Pants Music Festival
Sunday morning found me up walking around the cow pasture before the Princess woke up and expected delivery of her morning coffee. It was about 60 degrees outside, the sky was bright blue and the air smelled of fresh cut hay. The only other people up were the young families fixing breakfast for their kids. I heard several offers of help from the kids all politely declined by the parents. One only need so many hands around a camp stove and very small hands are not required. There were remnants from yesterday’s storms piled next to the small dumpsters. Sunshades can only take so much wind before they pretzel or crumble. Same thing happened last year.
We have enjoyed two days of the Red Ants Pants Music Festival so far with one more day to go. Last night Dwight Yoakam put on a good show to close out Saturday, Today Pam Tillis and Lorrie Morgan will close the festival. Both acts will receive a loud welcome from the hundreds of people standing in front by the stage. I know I will enjoy both performances, Tillis and Morgan a little more than Yoakam. Just personal preference.
Pam Tillis and Laurie Morgan, Quick, how many cowboy hats do you see?
Not all entertainment is on stage
One of the many “Hotties” to be seen this weekend
The ice man cometh (is that a word?)
This shin dig is arranged with a main stage and a smaller side stage located 100 yards or so back from the main stage off by the beer tent and food vendors. Everything runs on time. All of the main stage acts are established touring groups with a following present at the event. Main stage acts are on around an hour, longer for the head liners. The side stage groups perform while the main stage is being changed over from one act to the next.
Bo Depena, side stage Saturday
For me, the side stage was where the most fun was to be found. These groups are only known in the regions they hail from. Some are from Montana, others from Texas and a number of other states. These guys are playing for free just to get in front of another audience and a chance for a main stage contract in 2019. We all vote for who we think is the best group and the winner will be the first main stage act next year. The enthusiasm of these performers just gets the people kicking up dust, dancing like there is no tomorrow. The intimacy of the small stage venue along with the enthusiasm of both the crowd and the musicians kept us going back and forth between both stages for the entire festival. The range of music from waltzes to old fashion country to simple folk singers was wonderful. A Native American rapper opened the main stage Saturday morning.
Supaman, opened Saturday main stage
As I mentioned earlier Saturday was a very interesting weather day. The Princess summed it up pretty well when she observed that she was seriously rained on twice (I enjoyed those wet t-shirts), caught in a hail storm and managed to get a little sunburned, all in the space of a long afternoon. Temperatures got in the low 40’s Saturday night. Just got to love Montana.
As my close friends will attest to, I am not a big live music supporter. Too many people, too loud and so on. This event is so different for me despite the fact that attendance reached about 18,000 people this year. I think it is the location, the laid-back Montana attitude, combined with the music that has me hooked. The RAP is held as I mentioned in a cow pasture on one side of this enormous valley ringed by low mountains. The views are outstanding. One afternoon while the Secret Sisters were playing the main stage I watched a massive storm pass over the mountains about 15 miles to the south, was just beautiful. Didn’t notice the other storm moving in from the north that brought the hail.
Half of the Camping area Saturday
The Island Noodle Noodles guy from Bozeman
The camping grounds are sectioned off between family camping and a loud party area closer to the music venue. The prime camping spots can be found on Thursday since the grounds are packed by Friday night with the latecomers finding whatever spot they can. Despite sometimes having very, very close neighbors, everyone is respectful of the space of others. The campgrounds and festival areas are immaculate. Free water and showers are available. The portable bathrooms are cleaned regularly. No pets are allowed. Although we brought our own food, there are plenty of great food vendors for those that would prefer not to cook. Every morning the Meagher County Cattle Women Association have breakfast available for a very reasonable cost.
There were pockets of small parties around the family camp ground Sunday evening after the last performance. We have found that a lot of people come to the festival with extended families and close friends. It was rare to find someone who had not attended several prior festivals. Groups set up elaborate camps consisting of three and four RVs or very large camping trailers. It turns out that Sunday is when a lot of the quiet groups really let loose. The Princess and I were enjoying several “soft drinks” outside while talking to a couple of young guys that were moving from one party to another. This big Mercedes van sped past us, well over the suggested 5mph. It stopped a few feet past us while kicking up even more dust. Out poured The Lonesome Heroes, the last side stage act. They had driven from Austin the day to perform in Montana. They shared their beer, told us how much fun they were having, gave a few hugs, climbed back into the van and sped off. As a side note, they may have been the best act there and received our votes to be the opening act next year. According to the Lonesome Heroes, the current dance trend for college age and a bit beyond is waltzing. The Princess is already talking about where we can learn to waltz so we are prepared for next year’s festival. I am not ready to commit to this.
The Lonesome Heroes from Austin, The guy in red gave the Princess a big hug and offered her a beer.
As we approached the festival on Thursday, we thought that we would probably not come to the 2019 event, just might do something different next year. We are now thinking that next year just might find us here again, enjoying the great music, the laid-back atmosphere and the beautiful mountain views from the cow pasture.