Roots N Blues N BBQ Festival switching it up this year

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COLUMBIA - In the past the the Roots N Blues N BBQ festival has consisted of three days of music, food and family fun, but this year is different. 

"This is our first year to really do a festival week, and it is the first of many," said director of marketing and development for Thumper Productions, Jamie Varvaro. 

Thumper Productions, the company who puts on the festival, is hosting multiple free events throughout the week before the official kick off on Thursday. 

Varvaro said the pre-festival event additions could become traditions. 

"This is the first of many, because it's been really embraced and people are excited about it," Varvaro said. 

Guitar player Jim Valley is set to perform at Flat Branch Park Tuesday as part of the pre-festival kick off events. 

"Jim was a former lead guitar player of Paul Revere and the Raiders, back in the 60s they were huge," he said. 

The Flat Branch Park concert is ahead of other events, which will feature a comedian-juggler, The Burney Sisters, and a documentary screening. 

Varvaro said he hopes the extra events throughout the week draw in people who originally planned to come just for the weekend. 

A representative from the Columbia Convention and Visitors Bureau, Megan McConachie, said drawing the festival out throughout the week could be good for tourism. 

"If people are coming in early to get that full festival experience, that's all the better for tourism here in Columbia," she said.