The Missoula Downtown Association opens the 13th Annual River City Roots Festival on Friday, Aug. 24. This year’s festival features the New Orleans Suspects, comprised of some of the most seasoned, well-respected players in NOLA, as Friday’s headliner, while the Grammy Award-winning Infamous Stringdusters close out the festival Saturday, Aug. 25.
Friday’s events kick-off at 11 a.m. with the Art Show on Main Street and the Family Fun Fest in Caras Park at noon. Food vendors will also be open for downtown employees to enjoy lunch.
Music on Main Street starts at 12:30 p.m. with local kids’ bands On the Spot, Almost Six-Two and Tambourine Queen. The Zootown Arts Community Center will showcase its Kids Rock Camp Band on the Main Stage from 1:30-2:30 p.m. and Missoula’s own Good Old Fashioned takes the stage at 2:30. Rounding out the festival’s Friday line-up are Laney Lou and the Bird Dogs, Nathan Williams and the Zydeco Cha Chas and the New Orleans Suspects, who take the stage at 8:30 pm.
For outdoor enthusiasts, Saturday kicks off at 8:30 a.m. with the four-mile Fun Run Race. This year’s event features a new route, starting at the intersection of East Main and Higgins, looping near Silver Park and the Old Sawmill District and then following the Riverfront Trail to Caras Park. Folks can register at rivercityrootsfestival.com.
The Family Fun Fest begins again Saturday morning at 10 a.m. in Caras Park and offers entertainment from groups such as Jr. & Sr. Bella Corda Guitar Quartets, Jack Gladstone, Living Rhythm-Community Drum Circle, MASC Artisans, Evan Disney and Syren. Dozens of activities from local groups are also featured.
The Art Show resumes at 11 a.m. Saturday on Main Street and features nearly 30 artists from across the region.
The Salamanders kick-off the Main Stage schedule at 12:30 p.m. Saturday with tunes geared to younger listeners. Rapidgrass, the Jon Stickley Trio and Billy Strings lead up to The Infamous Stringdusters, who take the stage at 8:30 p.m.
Festival-goers can bike, walk, and bus to Downtown Missoula, thanks to Zero-Fare Mountain Line, and trails and sidewalks throughout the community. For the second-consecutive year, there will be a free bike valet, thanks to Climate Smart Missoula and Missoula in Motion, located on Main Street between Ryman and Higgins. Additionally, all public parking will be free of charge throughout Roots Fest weekend, thanks to the Missoula Parking Commission.
Food and beverages are available for sale at the festival. Those who are age 21 and older can purchase a wristband and a signature, reusable Roots Fest cup for $8, and the first drink is free. Roots Fest stainless steel pints are also available and include a wristband and free drink for $15. Over 20 local food vendors offer taste treats on Ryman St. and in Caras Park.
Roots Fest: Keepin’ it green
To support sustainable practices during the festival, Roots Fest has once again teamed up with Climate Smart Missoula and the City of Missoula to showcase simple actions that leave the festival, community, and planet cleaner, safer, and healthier. Initiatives such as eliminating straws at the Roots Fest Street Bars, having a carbon-neutral stage, selling reusable cups, and teaming up with Republic Services for All-in-One Recycling bins are just a few of the sustainability initiatives this year.
Roots Fest is admission free and full of family-friendly fun thanks to support from more than 30 Missoula-area businesses that sponsor the event.