River City rocks with two-day Roots Festival

John Jorgensen Band and Anders Osbourne headline this year's festival, Aug. 25-26

New & Notable

The 12th annual River City Roots Festival – Missoula’s signature celebration – opens Friday, Aug. 25. The Missoula Downtown Association’s free festival draws more than 15,000 people to the heart of Missoula for a variety of fun activities and exceptional music.

This year’s festival features the award-winning John Jorgenson Bluegrass Band as Friday’s headliner, while New Orleans native Anders Osborne closes out the festival Saturday.

Friday’s events kick off at 11 a.m. with the art show on Main Street and the Family Fun Fest in Caras Park. Music on Main Street starts at noon with performances by local kids’ bands.

River City Roots: Aug. 25-26
River City Roots rocks Missoula Aug. 25-26

Rotgut Whines takes the stage at 2:30 p.m., followed by Taj Weekes and Adowa, Ryan Shupe and The Rubberband, and the John Jorgenson Bluegrass Band. Known for his blistering licks on guitar and mandolin, Jorgenson has collaborated with a number of musical luminaries including Sting, Bonnie Raitt, Bob Dylan, and Elton John and won a Grammy for Best Country Instrumental with Brad Paisley.

For those looking for outdoor recreation prior to enjoying the festival, Saturday brings a four-mile fun run at 8:30 a.m. that starts at the intersection of East Main and Higgins and finishes in Caras Park. The Family Fun Fest begins again Saturday morning at 10 a.m. in Caras Park and offers entertainment by The Salamanders, Cello Mafia, and magician Evan Disney, plus dozens of activities. The juried art show continues at 11 a.m. Saturday and showcases works by nearly 40 artists from around the region.

The Main Street stage opens at 12:30 p.m. with the Whizpops, followed by Malcolm Holcombe, Ghost of Paul Revere, and The Band of Heathens. Singer/songwriter Anders Osborne, who artfully blends blues, funk, soul, and classic R&B, takes the stage at 8:30 p.m.

Festival-goers can bike, walk, and bus to Downtown Missoula, thanks to Zero-Fare Mountain Line, and all public parking is free throughout Roots Fest weekend.

More than 20 local food vendors sell their wares on Ryman Street and in Caras Park and beverages are available.

For more information, visit rivercityrootsfestival.com or call 406-546-6251.