River City Roots Festival, Missoula’s signature celebration, returns to the city’s historic downtown Aug. 26-27. Recognized as the 2009 Montana Tourism Event of the Year, the festival typically draws more than 15,000 people to the heart of town for a variety of fun activities and exceptional music.
This year’s festival features Missoula’s own Lil’ Smokies as the headliner Friday night for the first time in the festival’s history, and the multi-Grammy Award-winning Rodney Crowell closes out the event Saturday.
Welcoming University of Montana students and their families back for fall semester, Roots Fest will kick off at 11 am Friday with the Juried Art Show on Main Street and the Family Fun Festival in Caras Park. Music on Main commences at 2:30 p.m. with Gipsy Moon, followed by Fruition, Darrell Scott, and the Lil’ Smokies, who take the stage at 8:30 pm.
Saturday’s activities start at 8:30 a.m. with the four-mile fun run, which loops runners through the picturesque streets of the University District and along the Riverfront trail system to Caras Park.
The Family Fun Fest begins again Saturday morning at 10 a.m. in Caras Park and the Juried Art Show resumes at 11 a.m. Saturday on Main Street. The art show features 30 artists from around the region.
The Whizpops kick-off the Main Stage schedule at 12:30 p.m. Saturday, and are followed by Good Time Travelers, Sol Driven Train, and the Jeff Austin Band. Crowell takes the stage at 8:30 p.m.
Festival-goers can bike, walk, and bus to downtown Missoula, thanks to zero-fare Mountain Line, great bike parking, and trails and sidewalks throughout the community. Additionally, all public parking will be free of charge throughout Roots Fest weekend,
For a complete schedule, head to rivercityrootsfestival.com.