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The Red Ants Pants music festival near White Sulphur Springs is back on for its 10th anniversary this July after postponing its 2020 festival because of the pandemic.

Festival founder and producer Sarah Calhoun said she hopes the festival can be a leader and set an example of how to put on a fun and safe outdoor music festival in post-pandemic Montana. The 10th anniversary Red Ants Pants is scheduled for July 22-25 and is taking place, as always, in a working cow pasture at the Jackson Ranch outside of White Sulphur Springs.

“We just really feel that this is the kind of event that we need to start rebuilding and bringing everyone back together again, and music is such a powerful tool to do just that,” Calhoun said. “I’m very glad and proud, also, that we’re trying our best to figure out a way to do this appropriately and safely and really really excited to be able to get everyone together again.”

Calhoun said that public health is the top priority, so there will still be some restrictions to keep people safe. That includes increased sanitization stations, spreading out high-traffic areas to allow for easier social distancing and selling tickets to about 60% capacity compared to years past. The festival drew around 16,000 people in 2019 and 18,000 the year prior.

Depending on local, state and federal recommendations, there could also be services that can only be used by those who are masked up, like the festival shuttle service. And all of that is subject to change if there are major changes in case numbers, Calhoun said.

Tickets for the festival went on sale over the weekend, and even though the lineup isn’t announced yet, Calhoun said sales are stronger than usual for this time of year.

“That shows a lot of trust from our patrons, which is wonderful to see,” she said.

The full lineup announcement is expected to take place sometime in May.

Red Ants Pants is the main fundraiser for the Red Ants Pants Foundation, a 501©(3) nonprofit dedicated to supporting and expanding leadership roles for rural women.

The foundation’s programs include a women’s timber and carpentry workshop, girls leadership programs and a grant cycle that has doled out more than $110,000 in mission-based grants.

Both the foundation and the festival grew out of Red Ants Pants workwear, a women’s workwear company Calhoun began in 2006.

Calhoun said she’s relieved that the decision has been made to hold the festival again this summer and is excited for people to be able to get together and enjoy live music on the ranch again.

“We’ve taken it very seriously. There’s lots of risks still involved, but we do think there’s a way to do this appropriately and safely,” Calhoun said.

Tickets and more information on the Red Ants Pants music festival can be found at redantspantsmusicfestival.com.

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Melissa Loveridge can be reached at mloveridge@dailychronicle.com or at (406) 582-2651.

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