Roots N Blues N BBQ organizers hint at longer hours next year

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COLUMBIA - Roots N Blues N BBQ Festival officials said Tuesday next year's festival could be longer.

Festival founder and president Richard King said next year, Friday's hours could begin earlier in the day. 

"We've talked about extending the hours on Friday, starting earlier on Friday," King said. "I don't think we want to extend the hours any more than that." 

King said he and other event organizers were very happy with this year's turnout. He said 27,000 people attended this year's festival at Stephens Lake Park. King said those fans include people from 43 states, Australia, Canada, Japan and Sweden. 

King said there were a few new features that helped the festival improve from last year.

"We upgraded production quite a bit," King said. "We increased our budget in production quite a bit, but I was happy with the way it all turned out."

One of the main complaints he said people had in the past was the parking and transportation, something he said he thinks they did a good job of fixing this year. 

"Two years ago the shuttle service was tough because there is no parking over there, and this year I think we did a great job with the shuttle service," King said. "Once again, I think it could use improvement, but I think it was much better this year."

He said one thing they did this year that got a lot of positive feedback was the extension of the bicycle valet and the lighting in the park.

King said improving the experience for those who attend the event, especially when it comes to listening to the live music, is on the top of the list when they look for ways to improve. 

"Our biggest challenge is coming up with the artists that make up the, you know, that makes our fans happy, and I've started working on that list already," he said.