Roots N Blues N BBQ On Your Phone

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COLUMBIA - The 2011 Roots N Blues and BBQ Festival is boosting its digital presence this year as it kicks off Friday.

It's the second year event-goers will be able to utilize iPhone and Android apps. The mobile technology boasts maps, event info, artist info and more.

Event organizers also hope people donate to the Blues in the Schools program. Blues in the Schools is a music education program in Columbia elementary schools designed to encourage appreciations for blues music and its history through mentoring.

The program began with Grant and West Boulevard elementary schools, and has now spread to 19 elementary schools. Those who wish to donate can do so here.

Organizers of this year's festival also placed more of an emphasis on social media. Polly Sweitzer, one of the event's organizers said, "Last year 40 percent of our ticket sales came from a Facebook code. That's a huge number."

Along with consistent Facebook updating, Roots N Blues organizers also created a Tumblr page and Twitter page to keep festival attendees informed on everything from entertainment, to photos, events and more.

Concerts kick off Friday afternoon at five at all three stage locations downtown (Peace Park, Flatbranch Park, and Locust Street). The festival comes to a close Saturday night.