Sights and sounds: end of a festival, end of a season


The Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros performed Friday night at the Roots n’ Blues festival. Photo by Asa Lory.

Trisha Chaudhary

The Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros performed Friday night at the Roots n’ Blues festival. Photo by Asa Lory
As the week wound down, the fun had just begun downtown at the Roots n’ Blues n’ Barbecue  festival.
Unique to Columbia, this festival harbored both local bands and vendors as well as internationally renowned ones. It’s a weekend to enjoy. It’s a weekend to escape.
The sun set in the distance as summer came to an end, and the early autumn breeze ruffled hair and whispered in the leaves.
Converses, cowboy boots, flip flops and loafers; all types of people were there.
The sugary smell of funnel cakes blended with the smoky haze of barbecue, clogging the streets and wafting down alleys. Beer sloshed in plastic red cups, kettle corn popped, hot dogs sizzled and funnel cakes fried. Shakers full of powdered sugar turned upside down, as festival goers sprinkled doughnuts and funnel cakes in a delicate white layer of sweetness. Slick barbecue sauce squirted out of bottles, staining pulled pork sandwiches.
All around, people crunched, sipped, licked and slurped. Scraps were cast into trashcans and beer cups refilled.
Vendors called out, trying to attract customers: “Free samples! Get your free samples here! We have some really tender pork loin, ma’am!”
Jazzy rhythms mixed with country twangs and folksy tunes. The soothing strums of guitars, piercing tones of harmonicas and baritone plucks of basses penetrated the air. Children’s playful screams filled the air as they danced and played in the grass. Bodies swayed and heads nodded in beat with the music. People lounged in lawn chairs, sat against trees, sprawled across the grass and stood in front of the stages. Friends greeted friends, told stories, and laughter was everywhere.
As the sun sank behind the buildings, the twinkling lights of the city greeted the festival. Cigarette smoke saturated the night air, clinging to strands of hair and threads in sweaters.
Crowds cheered, clapped, whistled and sang along with bands. Fans shook their hips and spun partners around as they broke out in dance. Hands reached for the sky, cameras captured moments and once again, beer cups were refilled.
The festival wore on, filled with music, food and fans, but as time reached the single digits the people began to dwindle. The sky lightened and save a few stragglers, the streets emptied. Among the mess left behind were empty cups, festival programs and crumpled tickets. Though it seemed the fun was finished, in only a few hours the next day of Roots n Blues would begin, and the festival seemed to reset itself as the city slept.
By Trisha Chaudhary