12th Annual Roots N Blues N Barbeque kicks off


Before Roots N Blues N BBQ opens its gates to thousands of visitors, volunteers set up stages and check sound equipment. The Missouri Lottery Stage is one of two main stages at the festival. Photo by Maya Bell.

Ben Kimchi

This was previously published in “The Rock,” Bearing News’ sister print publication.
The 12th Annual Roots N Blues N BBQ festival kicks off tonight, beginning the weekend of music and food filled with artists and audiences from around the world.
Yesterday, volunteers worked and trained to prepare for the festival, festival Director Tracy Lane said.
“We are so lucky to have an incredible community of volunteers and sponsors,” Lane said. “It’s an overwhelmingly positive community and the collaborative spirit makes Columbia special.”
The events and “embraced arts” of Columbia are why she loves the city; the festivals attract people from all over, Lane said. The crowds drawn by Roots N Blues N BBQ also bring vendors from across the country to Columbia who see the event as a potential market for their businesses.
“We just came off the roads from Austin, Tulsa and Memphis to Columbia [for Roots N Blues N BBQ] and we’re excited,” Danielle Kruse, owner of Kosmic Blues, a tie-dye clothing store in Denver, Cool., said. “We travel all over doing festivals, and this year’s festival sounds like it’s going to be a very big one, hopefully as big as the 2016 festival.”
Aside from working as a vendor, Kruse said, the most exciting aspect of the festival is the lineup of artists. Alongside the scheduled performances, RBHS senior Bradley Snyder will play at the festival on Saturday. Snyder’s band, BlackWater, earned the opportunity to play at the festival by winning COMO’s Battle of the Bands.
“[Getting to play at Roots N Blues N BBQ is] pretty surreal,” Snyder said. “It’s awesome exposure, playing in front of people we’ve never played for [before]. We’ve already got fairly decent following in Columbia but every time we play well, it usually means more people show up to our next gig.”
BlackWater will play an all-acoustic set, per festival request, Snyder said. The band plans to play mainly original songs along with Rolling Stone covers and other “rockin’ tunes.” After Saturday, the festival holds a new finale for the Sunday events.
This year’s festival will be the first to induct musicians into a hall of fame, a new festival tradition, the “Missouri Roots SongBook,” Lane said.
“Each year we’re going to select one musician from Missouri and honor them, inducting them into this hall of fame,” Lane said. “This year’s honoree is Chuck Berry, so on Sunday night, 20 members of Chucks family and Chuck are going to be on stage.”
Lane sees the Missouri Roots SongBook as a way to show the importance Missouri’s musicians hold, and connect more people with their music.
“From ragtime to American hip hop, you have got Missouri musicians making an impact worldwide, and not just on music, but culture and history,” Lane said. “To me music and culture, there is this beautiful thread between them, connecting the two. We want young people to really understand the significant impacts Missourians have made on world culture, so we are going to show our appreciation and highlight their achievement with the hall of fame.”[penci_image_gallery title=”First Look: Roots n Blues n BBQ” style_gallery=”style-6″ images=”303809,303808,303804,303805,303806,303807″ auto_time=”3000″ speed=”500″ block_title_align=”style-title-left” title_color=”#2bb673″ custom_markup_1=””] Click on the images above to enlarge them and read more about the inner workings of the festival.
What part of Roots n Blues n BBQ are you most excited to experience? Let us know in the comments below.