Fall is approaching, and in Columbia that means at least a few things: The beautiful colors of changing leaves along the MKT Trail, Mizzou football and the Roots N Blues festival.
Columbia's homegrown music festival with a national reach returns in October. Here's what you'll need to know before you go.
When and where is this year’s festival?
Oct. 7-9 at Stephens Lake Park. The festival begins at 4:30 p.m. Friday with Columbia country singer Meredith Shaw. Saturday and Sunday schedules run from early afternoon through the last act.
Who are this year’s headliners?
Wilco and Tanya Tucker headline festival Friday; Chaka Khan and Jon Batiste draw the closing slots Saturday; and Old Crow Medicine Show and Bleachers will sound out a big farewell Sunday night.
Who are some other exciting acts on the bill?
Minnesota outfit Hippo Campus should satisfy indie-pop fans; Roots N Blues vets such as Larkin Poe and Houndmouth promise a triumphant return; Cautious Clay, Jaime Wyatt and The Heavy Heavy are among some of the most interesting newcomers to the festival.
How much are tickets?
Single-day general admission passes are around $82 for Friday; $100 for Saturday; and $86 for Sunday. Weekend passes run around $180.
How do I get there?
Other than ADA options, there is no car parking at Stephens Lake Park during the fest. Free shuttles run from downtown city garages to the festival or bike parking is available at the park.
What is the festival's wristband system? How does it work?
Festival transactions work solely through RFID (radio-frequency identification) wristbands that festivalgoers load and reload like a "digital wallet," as the festival website describes it. This creates a cashless, largely contact-less experience in which visitors pay for everything from food and beverage to merchandise and more by tapping their wristbands at vendor booths.
Can my kids come?
Kids age 14 and under are admitted free, if accompanied by an adult. The festival maintains an atmosphere that will feel friendly and welcoming to most families.
Are there any COVID-19 requirements?
None are currently listed on the festival website. Check back before attending, as the festival notes it will be in touch with health officials for the latest information.
Is the festival accessible?
ADA parking is available at Riechmann Pavilion in the park. The festival also offers transportation around the park for those who need it and an ADA viewing tent at the MU Health Care Stage. Learn more about accessibility at https://rootsnbluesfestival.com/visiting-the-festival/accessibility/.
What else is happening that weekend?
The Betsy Farris Memorial Run will take place Oct. 8 at Academy Sports, 2651 Trimble Road. Named for a late organizer of the festival, the run offers 5K, 10K and half-marathon options.
How long has Roots N Blues been around?
The festival — then called Roots N Blues N BBQ — began in 2007 downtown, a free event celebrating the anniversary of then-Boone County National Bank. The lineup that year included Taj Mahal, Tab Benoit and the Blind Boys of Alabama.
The festival quickly caught on, becoming its own entity with expanded lineups and both ticketed and free stages. In 2013, Roots N Blues moved to Stephens Lake Park, becoming a completely ticketed event. Festival alumni include:
The Avett Brothers
Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit
Trombone Shorty and Orleans Ave.
How can I learn more?
Visit the festival website at https://rootsnbluesfestival.com/ and look for more in the Tribune leading up to and through festival weekend.
Aarik Danielsen is the features and culture editor for the Tribune. Contact him at email@example.com or by calling 573-815-1731. Find him on Twitter @aarikdanielsen.
This article originally appeared on Columbia Daily Tribune: What to know as Roots N Blues returns to Stephens Lake Park Oct. 7-9