Roots ‘N’ Blues to draw crowd, musical artists

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Jacob Sykuta

Next weekend, downtown Columbia will be hectic, filled with people from around the country, all to experience what will be the 11th annual Roots N’ Blues N’ BBQ Festival. Since 2007 the festival features artists representing the genres of blues, gospel, country, folk, bluegrass, rock, and soul.
This year’s musical lineup boasts highly decorated artists who are sure to deliver an incredible performance. Some of these acts include Ryan Adams, a multi-Grammy award nominee, along with John Prine, a two time Grammy award winner and member of the Nashville songwriter Hall of Fame. In addition to these two more famous artists, other nationally and locally renowned artists such as Leon Bridges, Gary Clark Jr., and the Norm Ruebling Band are featured for this weekend of music. Although there are only these select featured artists for the 2017 festival, there will still be live performances from over 20 other Midwest artists that give a taste of the new age genre of gospel and rock music. Band director Steve Mathews appreciates the festivals’ love of music and is planning to attend this year once again.
“The music that Roots N’ Blues brings to the table every year is unbelievable,” Mathews said. “Although I grew up a long time ago, it’s hard not to be fascinated by the way blues and country music has evolved over the years and even since the festival was first started.”
Along with Mathews, junior Ben Hendricks believes the artists that perform at the festival are something special. Growing grown up around this ‘modern country’ music, Bell is a true fan of the culture that blues, country, and soul music have in today’s society.
“I’ve gone to Roots N’ Blues the past few years and it’s been absolutely amazing.” Hendricks said. “I love getting to go downtown and listen to the local artists perform music that I’ve grown up around. It’s so much better than listening to the radio or to my phone and the festival has helped me to make memories that I’ll never forget.”
In addition to the life-changing music, the festival is staying true to their name offering tons of local food trucks and other vendors. Barbecue is a part of Missouri culture, and during the Roots N’ Blues festival, that culture comes here for Columbia to experience. Vendors like Missouri Legacy Beef, Smokin Chicks BBQ and Sugarfire Smokehouse are sure to bring happiness to all of the food lovers traveling to Columbia for the festival. If the local barbecue isn’t filling enough, Jamaican Jerk Hut, Lily’s Cantina, Manzo’s Pizza, and many other Columbia food trucks will return this year to sell even more delicious food. For junior HanBin Kim, the fantastic barbecue is one of the most important things about the festival.
“Like most people, I love food.” Kim said. “Getting to taste true, delicious Missouri barbecue is always great, and even though I choose the barbecue over food trucks, I know that the food that the trucks are selling is just as good.”
With the plethora of wildly talented artists and world class food, the third and final aspect to the festival is often forgotten but is very important to the Midwest and Missouri culture. This part of the festival may seem rather tame in comparison to the loud music and delicious food; however, it is an opportunity for small businesses to sell beautiful products, in most cases handmade, that can be used in numerous ways throughout the day. This year’s craft vendors include Gypsy Wagon Wares, Indigo Child Gift Shop, Lite-em-up, Midnight Museum, Mountain Metal Arts, all in addition to many other small businesses trying to put themselves out for purchase.
“Roots N’ Blues brings so much entertainment and fun that everyone in the community can enjoy. Everybody likes different parts about the festival,” Kim said, “but in the end, it’s a way for the Columbia to experience part of our culture that is usually forgotten about and in my opinion, it brings us together and no matter what age you are, attending Roots N’ Blues should be your number one priority during the last weekend of September.”