What started as a one-time concert in downtown Columbia, Mo., to celebrate a local bank’s 150th anniversary has turned into a three-day music festival that draws about 10,000 concert-goers each day to this mid-Missouri community.
American Blues Scene magazine has called the Roots N Blues N BBQ Festival one of the most prominent festivals in the country, and the event’s longtime organizer says this is the year to attend if you’ve been thinking about it.
This year’s lineup is one of the strongest in the festival’s history, said Richard King, president of Thumper Entertainment and the festival organizer.
The 12th edition of Roots N Blues is Sept. 28-30 at Stephens Lake Park, about a 10-minute walk from downtown Columbia. King is proud of the lineup because it welcomes back several festival favorites and adds acts that have never appeared in Columbia before.
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The Avett Brothers are returning for their third appearance at Roots N Blues, and King remembers welcoming the relatively unknown group to his downtown Columbia venue when they were an opening act and traveled by van with a trailer in tow.
King’s nearly four decades of bringing the biggest names in music to this college town is one of the reasons for Roots N Blues success.
He’s been trying to land Sturgill Simpson for several years and finally succeeded. The singer/songwriter won a Grammy in 2016 for Best Country Album with “A Sailor’s Guide to Earth.” His music is a blend of country, blues, folk and American rock ‘n’ roll – fitting perfectly into the niche Roots N Blues has created.
“Roots N Blues is a music lovers event,” King said. “We think we dig a little deeper than most folks in terms of programming. We’re not trying to be the biggest; we like the idea of sticking to our style of music and making it a fun, comfortable experience.”
The lineup of 30 acts spans genres – blues, bluegrass, rock ‘n’ roll, country, folk, gospel and soul – with all performing on two main stages among the Missouri oak trees in the 116-acre park, the festival’s home for the past six years.
The Avett Brothers headline Friday night, Simpson on Saturday and Nathaniel Rateliff and the Night Sweats on Sunday.
Among the other acts are alt-country stalwarts Son Volt, country music traditionalist Dale Watson, the funky and soulful grooves of Trombone Shorty and Orleans Avenue, underground country music darling Margo Price, the rock-n-roll-meets-bluegrass amalgamation that is Greensky Bluegrass, blues veterans Keb’Mo’ and Taj Mahal, Tex-Mex rock-n-rollers Los Lobos, the Latin-tinged rock-country music of The Mavericks.
In addition to the main stages, there is a fully-equipped walk-up “Front Porch Stage” inviting festival-goers to show off their musical skills. There also will be nearly 20 food trucks and vendors, numerous beverage tents selling locally crafted beers and other refreshments, vendor villages, a large Ferris wheel as well as interactive art installations throughout the park.
A full schedule and tickets are available at rootsnbluesnbbq.com. You can buy daily ($75 before Sept. 7, $85 until day of, $95 day of) or weekend passes ($160 before Sept. 7, $185 until day of, $195 day of). There are VIP packages available as well, and children 12 and under get in free with a pass-holding adult.
More regional fall music festivals
Nearly every weekend through Halloween offers a music festival within driving distance of Wichita.
You’ll find urban settings as well as remote locations, some focusing on one genre and others offering something for every taste. Peruse the list below for a new festival in Denver from the creators of mega-festivals Bonnaroo and Outside Lands, a free kid-focused music festival in Oklahoma City, a two-weekend blowout in Austin, Texas, the self-proclaimed Live Music Capital of the World, and many more.
Sept. 6-9, Dancefestopia, Kansas City: 2018 headliners include Adventure Club, Flux Pavilion, Illenium, REZZ, Snails and Zeds Dead, dancefestopia.com
Sept. 6-8, Banjo Fest, Oklahoma City: 2018 headliners include: Bela Fleck, John Mceuen, Tony Trischka and Tim Allan, americanbanjomuseum.com
Sept. 6-8, Bluegrass & Chili Festival, Wagoner, Okla.: 2018 headliners include The Cleverlys, Edgar Loudermilk featuring Jeff Autry, Kenny and Amanda Smith, Rhonda Vincent & The Rage and Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver, bluegrasschilifest.com
Sept. 7-8, ICT Fest, Wichita: 2018 headliners include Yasmin Nur, CJ Boyd and Dead Rider, ictfest.com
Sept. 8, Crossroads Music Fest, Kansas City: 2018 headliners include Radkey with the Quixotic performers and Hembree, cmfkc.com
Sept. 8, Prairie Village Jazz Festival, Prairie Village, Kan.: 2018 headliners include Molly Hammer Quintet and Logan Richardson, pvkansas.com
Sept. 8, The Breaks, Chicago: 2018 headliners includeWu-Tang Clan, Yasiin Bey (Mos Def), Vic Mensa and Talib Kweli, thebreakschicago.com
Sept. 8-9, LouFest, St. Louis: 2018 headliners include Robert Plant & the Sensational Space Shifters, Modest Mouse, The Head and the Heart, Gary Clark, Jr., T-Pain and Kacey Musgraves, loufest.com
Sept. 12-16, Walnut Valley Festival, Winfield, Kan.: 2018 headliners include Billy Strings, Molly Tuttle, Balsam Range and Stephen Bennett, and Opal Agafia & the Sweet Nothings, wvfest.com
Sept. 14-15, Colorado Kind Festival, Lyons, Colo.: 2018 headliners include The String Cheese Incident and The Motet, bluegrass.com/mountainsun25.
Sept. 14-16, Grandoozy, Denver: 2018 headliners include Kendrick Lamar, Florence and the Machine and Stevie Wonder, grandoozy.com
Sept. 14-16, Telluride Blues & Brews Festival, Telluride, Colo.: 2018 headliners include Robert Plant & the Sensational Space Shifters, Ben Harper and Charlie Musselwhite, Gov’t Mule, Booker T’s Stax Revue, JJ Grey & Mofro and Anders Osborne, tellurideblues.com
Sept. 14-16, Stone River Music Festival, Chandler, Okla.: 2018 headliners include John Fullbright and Dustin Pittsley, stonerivermusicfestival.com
Sept. 14-16, World Food & Music Festival, Des Moines: 2018 headliners include Kat Perkins and the Tony Bohnenkamp All Star Band, dsmpartnership.com
Sept. 14-16, Riot Fest, Chicago: 2018 headliners include Blink-182, Beck, Elvis Costello & the Imposters, riotfest.org
Sept. 15, MisFEST, Tulsa: 2018 headliner of the all-female lineup is Katie Herzig, misfest.com
Sept. 15, Roots Jam, Memphis, Tenn.: 2018 headliners include The Roots, The Isley Brothers and Elle King, tnvacation.com/tnrootsjam
Sept. 16, Wiggle Out Loud, Oklahoma City: 2018 headliners include Lucky Diaz & The Family Jam Band and Sarah Lee Guthrie, wiggleoutloud.com
Sept. 20-23, Spanish Peaks International Celtic Music Festival, La Veta, Colo.: 2018 headliners include Moya Brennan, Cormac de Barra and Tanya Kay Perkins, celticmusicfest.com
Sept. 20-22, Medicine Stone, Tahlequah, Okla.: 2018 headliners include Turnpike Troubadours, Jason Boland and The Stragglers and The Randy Rogers Band, medicinestoneok.com
Sept. 22, Cornstock, Garnett, Kan.: 2018 headliners include Trace Adkins, Josh Abbott Band and Restless Heart, accornfest.com
Sept. 22, River City Rockfest, San Antonio: 2018 headliners include Nine Inch Nails, Primus, Stone Temple Pilots and Bush, rivercityrockfest.com
Oct. 3-6, King Biscuit Blues Festival, Helena, Ark.: 2018 headliners include Bobby Rush, Blackberry Smoke and Dave Mason & Steve Cropper, kingbiscuitfestival.com
Oct. 4-6, Oklahoma’s International Bluegrass Festival, Guthrie, Okla.: 2018 headliners include Tommy Emmanuel, the Byron Berline Band and the Red Dirt Rangers, oibf.com
Oct. 5–7 & 10–12, Austin City Limits Festival, Austin, Texas: 2018 headliners include Paul McCartney, Metallica, Childish Gambino,Artic Monkeys, Travis Scott, Odesza, and The National, aclfestival.com
Oct. 6-7, Mempho Music Festival, Memphis, Tenn.:2018 headliners include Beck, Post Malone, Phoenix, Janelle Monáe and Nas, memphofest.com
Oct. 6-7, Medicine Park Flute Festival , Medicine Park, Okla.: 10th annual event held in conjunction with Art Walk, medicinepark.com
Oct. 11-14, Hillberry Music Festival, Eureka Springs, Ark.: 2018 headliners include Railroad Earth, Trampled by Turtles and Sam Bush, hillberryfestival.com
Nov. 2-4, Utopia Fest, Burnet, Texas: 2018 headliners include Patty Griffin, Lukas Nelson & the Promise of the Real, Valerie June and Grandmaster Flash, utopiafest.com