Letter From the Editor
At long last, Roots N Blues N BBQ is upon us. It’s one of the major festivals that comes to Columbia, along with the True/False Film Festival and Citizen Jane. This is definitely something you should take advantage of. Roots N Blues will be bringing artists like The Avett Brothers, Houndmouth and The Oh Hellos this year.
Honestly, I’ve never been to Roots N Blues. Although I love BBQ and definitely love to get down to the blues, last year I was insanely sick with some ridiculous flu virus during the festival. I consumed only Campbell's soup and mushy crackers for a week and a half and missed the whole thing.
This year, I can’t wait to be at the festival. Healthy and ready to go, I will be rockin’ with all of you during this homegrown Columbia tradition. This is the 10th anniversary of Roots N Blues. During their 10-year history, they have welcomed a ton of big artists, like Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros, Fitz and the Tantrums and ZZ Ward.
In this issue, you’ll find previews of big Roots N Blues artists Grace Potter and Ben Folds. You can also find reviews on the 27 food vendors and Spotify playlists for each day of the festival. This year, MOVE should be your go-to guide for all things Roots and Blues.
During the festival, keep an eye on our Twitter and Instagram (@MOVEmaneater) and like us on Facebook (MOVE Magazine). If you use the hashtag #MOVERnB, you might even end up on MOVE’s Instagram. We’ll have interviews with big artists, like Nathaniel Rateliff and the Night Sweats, so be sure to keep up with our content at move.themaneater.com.
Love and BBQ,
Try the food
One of the best things about Roots N Blues N BBQ is the BBQ. I mean, it _is_ in the name. At every Roots N Blues, businesses create unique creations like Harold’s Doughnuts BBQ sandwich — BBQ pulled pork on a doughnut bun, plus sides of slaw, beans and cheesy grits.
Roots N Blues has the best venue
Stephens Lake Park is one of the prettiest nature parks in Columbia, so the fact that Roots N Blues is there only adds to how cool the festival is. There are two stages, a variety of lounges and vendors (food, merchandise and crafts) for you to explore.
Go see the gospel celebration
Sunday at the festival features a gospel celebration from Broadway Christian Church, and the music is definitely something you should check out. Big, passionate vocals that you can clap along to represent the roots of the festival.
Don’t bring water (or anything else, really)
You’re not allowed to bring food or beverages into the venue, but don’t fear; there is free water inside the festival. If you’re looking to be environmentally friendly, feel free to bring a refillable water bottle.
Bring cash to buy crafts
There are 17 craft and nonprofit vendors at Roots N Blues this year, and the crafts are so trendy and cool that you won’t be able to resist. BE HIPPY, one of the craft vendors, is a lifestyle brand that sells T-shirts, and Williams HandMade Crafts is a shop that sells artisan crafts.
Next year? Volunteer
If you want to get into Roots N Blues and help run the festival, volunteering is for you. You can volunteer a few hours of your time and get a T-shirt and three-day pass to the festival. Positions range from the Accessibility Assistance Team to the Mercantile Team.
Look for the deals
Roots N Blues brings a lot of thrifty deals to Columbia. Participating retailers include ACME Hot & Fresh T-Shirts, Gidget's Garage, Makes Scents and The Peace Nook. Restaurants offering deals include 9th Street Public House, Hot Box Cookies, Nourish Cafe and Market, Ugly Mugg and Yogoluv. To see the rest of the local deals, head to the Roots N Blues website.
Parking is going to be a wreck during the festival, but if you park in any of the parking garages downtown, you can take the free festival shuttle. You’ll be driven right to the gates of Roots N Blues, and buses start one hour before the festival begins every day. For other transportation, the city of Columbia will be running CoMo Connect for free the entire weekend. If you’re looking to be extra sustainable this weekend, ride your bike to the fest or walk — it’s only a roughly 15-minute walk from downtown.
Accessibility at Roots N Blues is important
Roots N Blues offers ADA parking as well as a flat route to the festival itself. Inside the festival, a golf-cart shuttle will be running around the grounds for all fans for free. There are marked stops around the festival, or you can call a posted number to get a ride.
Do Roots N Blues the way you want to
Roots N Blues is an event that can be tailored to anybody, so make it your own. You don’t have to stay all day if you don’t want to — just see your favorite artists, or come early and stay late. Roots N Blues is one of Columbia’s biggest festivals, so live it up and soak up the culture.
Since 2011, siblings Maggie and Tyler Heath have been jamming folk-rock style. The Texans lead The Oh Hellos, an emotional folk band with a big sound. The group has two albums, _Through the Deep, Dark Valley_ and _Dear Wormwood_, and a self-titled EP. Catch them Saturday at Roots N Blues N BBQ.
The siblings take turns leading vocals on their songs, but Tyler typically takes the lead. Maggie’s voice comes in high and clear, while Tyler’s moves through the music with a smooth, definitely bluesy twang. “Lay Me Down” is a wonderful song to hear Maggie leading the vocals. In most of their songs, it’s hauntingly beautiful to hear the harmonies of their backup singers echoing behind them, and when the siblings come together, it’s powerful and moving in a way that many folk bands try to be.
The Oh Hellos’ overall sound hits all the right notes for a folk band. They fit well alongside festival headliners The Avett Brothers. Their songs move slowly and sound soft and haunting much of the time. Intense vocals are backed by a myriad of instruments.
“Dear Wormwood” is a soft, smooth song. It’s also the title song of The Oh Hellos’ latest album, so there’s a good chance they’ll bring this haunting tune to Roots N Blues. The repeated line, “I know who you are now,” drives the buildup of the song until it bursts into an instrumentally and vocally driven section of the song.
“Wishing Well” from their first album is another good song to hear Maggie leading the vocals. It’s kind of sad, but the groove is good and the backup vocals swell together to create an aching harmony.
The Oh Hellos play on Saturday at 4 p.m., so it’s a great concert to break up your day. Sit and sway to the powerful, folksy vocals and clap with the music. They’re guaranteed to be a nice, chill concert, so grab some BBQ and hang out with The Oh Hellos at the Missouri Lottery Stage.
Check out our playlist to get you grooving to the right tunes. It has a mix of The Oh Hellos’ best hits with their most moving lyrics and best sounds, as well as a few songs by other bands similar to them, if you want to get into that sort of thing.
Go forth and folk-rock your hearts out, Roots N Blues-ers.