MISSOULA - The popular River City Roots Festival is returning to the streets of downtown Missoula.
The admission-free event runs Friday and Saturday and features live music, an art show, the Family Roots Fest, the 4-Mile Roots Run, and local food vendors.
“Roots Fest is truly all about Missoula,” said Ellen Buchanan, Chair of the Roots Fest Committee and member of the Missoula Downtown Association Board of Directors. “This festival personifies who we are as a community: an artistic and musical city."
- Music on Main: Music commences at 12:30 p.m. both days. This year’s lineup features a wide variety of local and national roots music artists with five bands playing each day. It has become a tradition to open Main Stage at 12:30 p.m. both days with music by and for Missoula’s youth. This year is no exception with music from kids’ rock bands, thanks to Tangled Tones and the Zootown Arts Community Center (ZACC), and Cowboy Andy & the Salamanders kicks off Saturday. Friday is unique this year as each band is female-fronted, featuring Amanda Shaw as the first night’s headliner; Shaw previously played Roots Fest in 2010 and 2015. Ashleigh Flynn & the Riveters, Laney Lou & the Bird Dogs, and Amy Helm round out the Friday schedule. Saturday features Missoula band Off in the Woods, followed by Drew Landry & the North Country Ramblers, The Hillbenders, and headliner Keller Williams’ Grateful Grass closes out the festival starting at 8:30 p.m.
- Art Show: Features over 35 local and regional artists selling hand-made goods, including jewelry, pottery, prints, leather works, wood, paintings, soap, clothing and more. One of the highlights of the Art Show is the opportunity to work with Missoula’s own Clay Studio; attendees can create their own piece of art to take home.
- Roots Run: Begins Saturday at 8:30 a.m. on East Main Street and ends in the newly renovated Caras Park. The Roots Run is a unique four-mile distance and has a new route this year that crosses the Clark Fork River four time. Run Wild Missoula produces the event and registration can be found at www.runwildmissoula.org/races/river-city-roots-run/.
- Family Fun Fest: Runs from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday in Caras Park. Families will find more than 25 local kid-friendly organizations offering activities and performances.
- Green Initiatives: Roots Fest has several sustainability practices that are standard A carbon-neutral stage, compostable materials required for all vendors, reusable drink cups, steel pint commemorative cups, and recycling and composting are all part of the festival. Zero-fare bus service and bike parking help reduce the impact of driving and parking and the Green Team provides immense support for the festival thanks to efforts by Climate Smart Missoula. A bike valet, thanks to Missoula in Motion, will be available from 6 p.m. until 10:30 p.m.
- Food and beverages: Will be offered throughout the festival. Over a dozen local food trucks will be open on Ryman Street both days. Local favorites such as El Cazador, Kamoon, M-80 Chicken, Mountain Berry Bowls, River City Eats, and The Taco Guy will be among the options. Badlander Catering will have a variety of adult beverages, and all who choose to imbibe will need a Roots Fest wristband and cup.
- Unseen Missoula Music Tour: “This Town is Full of Ghosts”. This guided walking tour will highlight several destinations in Downtown Missoula that have played a significant role in Missoula’s musical history. The tours will be tentatively offered on Saturday at 10 a.m., 1 p.m., and 3 p.m. Information and registration is available at www.missouladowntown.com/unseen-missoula.
Admission is free and accessible for all thanks to over 30 Missoula businesses. Attendees are encouraged by organizers to remember to be kind to one another and thoughtful of the needs of others. Be kind to the volunteers and servers, don’t bring your pets, and enjoy all the wonderful things this festival offers our community. Parking will be free throughout downtown on Friday.
A full schedule of events can be found at https://www.rivercityrootsfestival.com/events/.