Words & Deeds

4 reasons the Mountain Home Country Music Festival just got better

Huge headliners. Cooler temperatures. More ticket options. No beer cages.

Organizers of the Mountain Home Country Music Festival are making changes that could catapult the third annual event to the next level.

1. The headliners

Keith Urban, Luke Bryan and Chris Stapleton will headline the party July 28-30 in rural Elmore County. You can debate lineups, but I’d argue that’s the strongest one yet. Seriously, each of those is an arena-filling name.

2. Single-day tickets

This year, fans can buy single-day tickets in addition to three-day passes. Single-day tickets are $80. Three-day passes are $125. Get them at mountainhomefestival.com. Prices will rise later in the year.

Those single-day tickets could be the cow-tipping point for fans on the fence. It’s a way to draw newcomers into the full festival experience, director Anne Hankins says, including the camping and atmosphere.

“Now if they buy a single-day ticket and they get out there and they love it — as we know that they will — they can upgrade that single-day to a three-day pass,” Hankins says.

3. Cooler temperatures

Another small yet smart change: Each night’s headlining act won’t go on stage until 11 p.m. That will help combat scalding daytime temperatures. Too many fans have been disappearing to go swimming or find shade rather than watch early performers.

4. No more beer gardens

One last key improvement: Free beer! Oops, make that beer freedom. Beer gardens are being eliminated. If you buy a cup of beer or wine, you’ll be able to take it anywhere inside the gated venue.

Hankins says she is confident that these adjustments, plus the arena-size acts, will create a lucrative future for the festival in Idaho.

“It’s been a tough market,” she admits. “Last year, we definitely felt the energy of the event where it needed to be, and we need to see that energy continue through this year before we make any commitment for 2018.”

Michael Deeds: 208-377-6407, @michaeldeeds