Are you thinking about going to Roots N Blues but unsure if it will be all it’s cracked up to be? First-year graduate student and former Maneater staffer Katie Yaeger, a seasoned Roots N Blues veteran, shares her experiences at the festival and why it’s the place to be in CoMo during the last weekend in September.
What are your favorite things about Roots N Blues? I’ve been either two or three years, and I really like the atmosphere. It’s very relaxing. They have a lot of great artists and great food. Since it’s been moved to Stephens Lake Park — it used to be held downtown — it’s been really cool. They’ve had some abstract art sculptures, which has added to the ambiance.
Who are some of the artists that have been there? Anyone who people might generally know? They’ve had a lot of big names in the past. Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros were there three years ago, when I was a sophomore. My junior year, they had Trombone Shorty, who’s very well-known in the jazz community. A couple years ago, one of my friends was actually in a blues band that played there. It was pretty fun because I got to see her and meet the rest of her band, so that was a nice touch.
This might be hard, but can you pick a favorite artist you’ve seen? Edward Sharpe was really great. I love the song “Home,” and they did a Mizzou version during my Summer Welcome back in 2011. It’s always been affiliated with Mizzou for me, so it was really cool to see them live. The band has tons of different members, and two of them sang the song to each other at one point, which was kind of funny.
What about the food is so awesome? They just have a lot of different vendors. It’s always nice when you’re out enjoying a music festival to have good food to pair with it, especially if you’re there during the day and some of the night for a couple days.
How long do students usually spend at the festival? It depends on the student and what people have going on. I know people who have stayed for the duration of the entire festival, and I know people who just go in the afternoons or hit some of the evening shows. Many students volunteer for the festival. Anyone in the community can volunteer, and several of my friends have in the past, so that’s another way that people get to be involved.
Why should any Mizzou student go to the festival? If students like music festivals or are just looking for something to do, or if they just want to explore Columbia a little bit more, I would say Roots N Blues is a really great Columbia event. I think it’s one of the things that makes this college town unique. We have Roots N Blues in the fall and we have True/False, the film festival, in the spring. It’s a really fun event, and it brings a lot of different people from different areas of the community together.