Roots n\' Blues brings extra patrons to local businesses

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COLUMBIA - The Roots n' Blues n' BBQ Festival brings many people to Columbia to enjoy a weekend of music and food, and with that influx of people comes a boost in traffic for local businesses.

The festival takes place at Stephens Lake Park. Businesses can become sponsors or vendors at the event, but they also see increases at the main locations.

"It's a huge weekend for us, I mean double revenue. Basically we get a free weekend pretty much, so it's wonderful for everybody," said Andrew DuCharme, General Manager of Lakota Coffee.

Preparations begin before the weekend starts; at Lakota Coffee employees roasted extra coffee beans to make sure they had enough to last through the weekend.

When the weekend of Roots n' Blues rolls around "We double our staff, plus a little bit," DuCharme said.

Hot Box Cookies also sees a boost in business and makes sure to have extra cookie dough in stock to make sure that hungry customers don't leave empty handed.

"The past three years I know we've done different levels of involvement as far as passing out cookies doing donations and that kind of thing, but we're definitely looking to get more involved," said Tim Roof, General Manager of Hot Box Cookies.

The festival has different levels of tickets, and patrons who are VIP ticket holders have access to free food and drinks, some of which are provided by local businesses like Lakota Coffee and Hot Box Cookies.

Part of the reason Hot Box has been able to get more involved is due to an increase in staff.

"We've just been growing so quickly. Our staff is basically double or triple where it was about a year ago, so we can do these huge large catering orders for these events more frequently," Roof said.

Signs can be seen at local businesses welcoming people to Columbia for Roots n' Blues or offering discounts to ticket holders.

Local businesses that have large Roots n' Blues logos on display in the windows are participating in "Celebrate Your Roots Discover the District" that goes from September 11 to the 24 and offers discounts to shoppers.

The festival brings big names in roots and blues music to town; this year there are five featured artists including Buddy Guy and Dr. John. The three-day festival has more than 30 acts and has a few offshoot programs.

In addition to the festival, there is a Half Marathon and 10k, auctions, art shows, and multiple events where organizers announce the artists performing in the coming year.

Businesses can also be vendors on site for Roots n' Blues, so employees are able to enjoy music while working.

"It's a little bit hectic, but it's also really fun. I mean they get to go listen to a lot of great bands, and I mean they make great tips they love it, it's a great weekend for everybody," DuCharme said.

Roots n' Blues takes place from September 25 to the 27.

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