Roots N Blues is cashless

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COLUMBIA – The famous Roots N Blues festival is back in town with a new twist: attendees will no longer be able to use cash, credit or debit cards. 

Festival-goers will receive a wristband that will be used as a pre-paid account. The wristband uses radio frequency identification or RFID technology. Attendees can track how much money they spend by tapping on the wristband. They will get emailed receipts for all of their transactions. 

Those that bring cash to the festival will have the chance to load that cash onto their wristbands.

"Of course we've checked it out at other events and it really works well," said Kevin King, President of Thumper Entertainment. "We think it's a great service for the folks that are attending the festival." 

If festival-goers have funds left on their wristbands after it's over, debit and credit cards will be automatically refunded and cash payments will have to be requested online. Both refund methods require a $5 fee.

The new year also brings in new music headliners, including Emmylou Harris, Leon Bridges, Band of Horses and many more first timers.

King said the music is his favorite part of the festival.

"I'm going to be honest with you, I've invited several artists that I really like here, you know we have John Prine coming, I'm a big fan of John Prine, Band of Horses, I'm a big fan of Band of Horses, Booker T goes back to my teenage days, so really music is what really what's the big part of it for me." 

Local artist and festival-goer Quanah Leija-Elias said he’s looking forward to attending the festival after many years.

"I'm really excited about seeing Leon Bridges, he's one of my favorite musicians right now. I've been once, to the very first Roots N Blues festival, so this will be my first time in this new space," Leija-Elias said. 

Traffic and parking will be restricted in the areas of Broadway, Old Highways 63 and East Walnut. Parking restrictions will begin on Friday at 3 p.m. and continue through the evening of Sunday, Oct. 1. 

For those that plan to drive, parking garages will be free on Friday after 6 p.m. through Sunday. Roots N Blues will provide free shuttles from parking garages. ADA accessible shuttles will also be available. 

GoCOMO will also offer free rides the entire weekend with extended evening hours on Friday and Saturday nights. 

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