Rock band Kansas was not at the inaugural Mountain Home Country Music Festival last weekend in rural Elmore County.
But dust in the wind was a headliner. Along with triple-digit temperatures and the absence of trees, the persistent layer of grime made things tough on festivalgoers.
Still, most appeared to enjoy themselves July 31-Aug. 2; just check out the photo gallery from photographer Kyle Green at IdahoStatesman.com. (“My equipment was covered in dust,” he lamented afterward.)
“It was so much fun!” gushed one commenter on the festival’s Facebook page. “Worth every bit of dirt swallowed.”
Despite seeing big names including Brad Paisley, Blake Shelton and Florida Georgia Line, a few commenters have been less forgiving. Some probably are still brooming the interior walls of their camper trailers. But overall, “good times” appears to be the majority consensus among the 14,000 attendees (a bit shy of the 15,000 to 17,000 predicted).
Festival president Anne Hankins, who jokingly referred to Facebook as Hatebook (so true), said she’s excited with how things went.
“You can’t make 14,000 people happy at the same time,” she said good-naturedly. “So for a first-year event, I’m very pleased.”
Keeping state and local authorities in the festival’s corner was the No. 1 priority. Otherwise, there wouldn’t be a year two.
That’s why festivalgoers didn’t see dust-suppressing water trucks spraying the grounds more often, Hankins said. The Idaho Department of Water Resources granted a water right to the festival. Organizers wanted to make sure they stayed within the quantity limit. That’s also why festivalgoers weren’t allowed to fill portable pools.
“We just tried to find a happy medium,” Hankins said. “But it was duuuusty. We have lots of changes to make (next year). One is we will address watering of the roads.”
About 1,000 workers and volunteers were involved in the massive event. The inevitable learning curve resulted in occasional disorganization. But it also means that festivalgoers can look forward to a smoother year two.
That includes late at night. Hankins, no stranger to putting on large-scale festivals, cut the wristbands of a group of about 25 uncooperative, intoxicated rowdies partying into the wee hours, she said, “and actually had standing applause from the campsites around them.”
“It’s funny how that spread like wildfire,” she added. “And so people really settled down and just had a really good time.”
Brisk presales for next year’s Mountain Home Country Festival — July 29-31, 2016 — are a testament to first-year success, Hankins said. Two headliners have been announced: Kenny Chesney and Jason Aldean. A third will be revealed this fall.
Will the mystery headliner be your all-time favorite country singer? Hopefully. But if not, there’s one thing you can count on next year: Cleaner boots.
“The dust, we can fix,” Hankins promised.
Here are the latest concert announcements in the Treasure Valley. These shows went on sale Aug. 7:
: 9 p.m. Sept. 18, Revolution Center, 4983 Glenwood St., Garden City. $15 first 100 tickets sold, $20 general ($25 door), $35 VIP. Ticketfly. Opening: Louis the Child.
: 7 p.m. Oct. 21, Taco Bell Arena, 1401 Bronco Lane, Boise. $35 and $45. Ticketmaster. Opening: Suicidal Tendencies, Beartooth.
: 8:30 p.m. Nov. 2, Revolution Center, 4983 Glenwood St., Garden City. $29.50 general ($35 door), $59.50 VIP. Ticketfly.
: 8 p.m. Nov. 4, Revolution Center, 4983 Glenwood St., Garden City. $29.50 general ($35 door), $59.50 VIP. Ticketfly.
: 8 p.m. Dec. 5, Revolution Center, 4983 Glenwood St., Garden City. $29.50 general ($35 door), $59.50 VIP. Ticketfly.
•Gary Clark Jr.
8 p.m. April 9, Knitting Factory, 416 S. 9th St., Boise. $31.50. TicketWeb. $36.50 day of show.
TONIGHT IN ‘THE OTHER STUDIO’
Join Tim Johnstone and me as we talk about the latest Boise concert news and spin new music from acts such as Grace Potter and Albert Hammond Jr.
“The Other Studio” airs at 9 p.m. Sundays on 94.9 FM The River.
IN SCENE AUG. 14
• Tour de Fat is back for another wacky bicycle and beer party at Ann Morrison Park.
• Boise-based singer-songwriter Eilen Jewell talks about life on the road as a mom.
• A restaurant review of Crossings Winery in Glenns Ferry.
Michael Deeds’ entertainment column runs Fridays in Scene and alternating Sundays in Explore. Twitter: @IDS_Deeds