Roots N Blues N BBQ Talks Changes for Festival

Related Story

COLUMBIA - Planning is underway for the 8th annual Roots N Blues N BBQ Festival in Columbia.

Even though the three-day event doesn't kick off for five months, organizers are already working to combat problems that arose during the 2013 music festival.

The festival, previously hosted in downtown Columbia, moved to Stephens Lake Park for the first time last year.

"I think what we can promise people is we'll see improvements over last year," Thumper Entertainment's Richard King said. "It was our first year at the park so there was without a doubt some things we learned."

King said he hoped to bring more beer and food vendors and extra bathrooms to the festival, which kicks of Sept. 26. He also said Roots N Blues organizers are working with the City of Columbia and Columbia Parks and Recreation to provide better lighting throughout the park during the event.

"I believe most of the issues are very fixable," he said.

Another one of those issues organizers saw last year was parking. King said the shuttle service to Stephens Lake had a rocky start, but a new parking and shuttle plan for 2014 should be released soon.

King said the number of people, estimated to be around 25,000, who attended last year surprised him.

"I don't know if I would call them overflow crowds, but they were big crowds," King said. "I wasn't prepared."

Some of last year's attendants joined hundreds of others at the Tiger Hotel Thursday night to hear the announcement of the 2014 headlining artists.

Organizers announced the Avett Brothers, John Prine and Rosanne Cash are scheduled to play Saturday night during the festival. King said work for signing the headliners began immediately following last year's festival.

King said he has wanted John Prine to play Roots N Blues for several years. Once Prine announced he was on board, The Avett Brothers and Rosanne Cash followed.

"There's still a ways to go here getting the schedule filled up, but it a big chunk of it is decided," King said. "Once that all fell into place things started to work themselves out."

King said he will announce more artists as they are confirmed, but a majority of the line up is set.

One reason King said Roots N Blues N BBQ is special is because many of the artists who play are not well known in the area.

"We bring in artists that maybe some folks don't know about." He said. He encouraged everyone attending to keep an eye out for Lake Street Dive.

"Trust me."

"I always go back to really why people, what it's all about is the music and hopefully this year we'll be able to at least get to the same level as last year or a little bit higher."

The event kicks of Friday, Sept. 26 and runs through Sunday, Sept. 28.

Tickets are for sale online and at The Blue Note box office.