MISSOULA — Downtown Missoula will be hopping more than usual this weekend with the 15th annual River City Roots Festival making a comeback after being a victim of the pandemic last year.
Boxes of goodies are piled up in the offices of Downtown Missoula Partnership, ready to be hauled out.
The physical preparation for the street concert got started in earnest on Wednesday with the chalking of West Main and Ryman streets for vendors.
There is genuine excitement about the return.
"It's a way for us to come together as a community, to reconnect to the city that we love. We want to listen to live music and support our local artists and get out and run and play. We're welcoming Missoula to downtown and we're so appreciative of their support for our downtown businesses." - Downtown Missoula Partnership executive director Linda McCarthy
The music starts Friday and Saturday at 12:30 and continues with five bands performing each day, with names such as Hot Buttered Rum, Sol Driven Train and Growling Old Men.
The Friday headliner is Super Chikan, playing Delta Blues and Saturday concludes with local favorites The Lil Smokies.
Now if the music isn't at the top of your list, McCarthy says there are other activities to keep you entertained and busy. There's an Art Show, a four mile run, and a family roots rest at Caras Park Saturday.
Most of the bands that were scheduled for last year are back, which made it easier but other aspects were more difficult during a pandemic.
"We have a methodology that works, we have a timeline that works. It's been hard this year because of a lack of communication, a lack of staffing at a lot of different levels,” McCarthy told MTN News. “Generally, we have a good footprint of what we do and a process for how we do it.”
“We had a lot of really good support in the sponsorship space. You know, this festival is admission free and accessible for all, funded by business sponsorships and the fact that the festival costs about $100,000 to produce, so it's a big deal,” McCarthy added.
The River City Roots Fest takes place Friday and Saturday with music starting at 12:30 p.m. each day. The art show runs both days while the food court and street bars will be open each day as well. The four mile run takes place Saturday as is the Family Roots Rest at Caras Park.
Click here for additional information on the River City Roots Fest.