Red Ants Pants Music Festival: Legends and rising stars

The Bellamy Brothers, Lucinda Williams and Asleep at the Wheel headline grassroots festival

New & Notable

Red Ants Pants Music Festival delivers another stellar line-up of grassroots, honky-tonkin’ music to the Jackson Ranch just outside of White Sulphur Springs July 28-30.

“We’re thrilled about the depth and range of this year’s line-up – it’s truly an incredible group of Americana’s favorite legends as well as some of the most exciting rising stars in music today,” said festival founder and producer Sarah Calhoun

The Bellamy Brothers (4:30 p.m. Sunday) first appeared on the pop music charts in the ’70s with “Spiders and Snakes” and “Let Your Love Flow,” then veered toward country music in the ’80s with “If I Said You Had a Beautiful Body (Would You Hold It Against Me). Four decades later, the duo continues to play 200-plus concerts a year with their bedrock mix of melody and songcraft.

Another fine songwriter, Lucinda Williams (10 p.m. Saturday), brings an edgier aura to the stage, with her remarkably personal and unvarnished songs. Her new album, The Songs of Highway 20, experiments with jazz phrasing and explores her childhood and literary roots through a collection of tunes that’s “literally a map of my life in a lot of ways.”

Asleep at the Wheel (8 p.m. Saturday) scored another Grammy (it’s their 10th) with Still the King: The Music of Bob Wills and His Texas Playboys; and Shooter Jennings (son of Waylon Jennings and Jessi Colter) and his Waymore Outlaws (8:30 p.m. Friday) are mavericks in their own right, creating a catalogue that ranges from electronic dance music, to country, to psychedelic-country-rock.

And that’s just a sample. Other Main Stage acts include the Turnpike Troubadours, Parker Millsap, James McMurtry, Mandolin Orange, The Waifs, Jeffrey Foucault, Sarah Potenza, the Hot Club of Cowtown, Lydia Loveless, Darlingside, Monica Rizzio, The Two Tracks and Montana’s own Pollo Loco.

The side stage features 14 bands, including Ferdinand the Bull, Lazy Bones, Old Sap, The Lucky Valentines, The Riverside, Thom Chacon, and Zoe Nutt and The Union.

The fun starts Thursday with a free square dance at 8 p.m. featuring the Beet Tops and caller Chelle Karcher, followed by The Two Tracks.

Activities abound, including the Ants in Your Pants Fun Run, the Beard and Moustache Competition, and a fashion show on Saturday; and the annual crosscut-saw contest on Sunday. A kids’ tent offers crafts and educational activities, and the demonstration area showcases traditional skills, including hide tanning, mule packing and timber skills. Art, craft, food and beverage vendors ply their wares on the festival grounds, and camping is available.

The festival is designed to bring people together and support the Red Ants Pants Foundation, which is dedicated to women’s leadership, working family farms and ranches, and rural communities. The festival, founded in 2011, remains a home-grown celebration, run by a dedicated crew and 250 festival volunteers.

Tickets are $55 per day or $135 for a weekend pass, and free for kids 12 and under. Call 406-209-8135 or visit