The second day of the annual Roots N Blues N BBQ festival brought 13 artists and thousands of fans to Stephens Lake Park for a full but relaxed day of music and barbecue.
Christian rock group Needtobreathe closed out the night with an hour-and-fifteen-minute set featuring a mixture of recent and older songs, as well as unexpected partial covers of the Jackson Five’s “I Want You Back” and the Rolling Stones’ “You Can’t Always Get What You Want.” At the same time, headlining act Dwight Yoakam played on the other stage across the park.
While all the artists fit in the general category of “blues,” they showed a wide variety of styles, from rock to soul. Other acts included Irma Thomas, G. Love & Special Sauce, Robert Cray and Justin Townes Earle.
In the afternoon, attendees took advantage of the park’s huge trees by setting up lawn chairs and spreading blankets in the shade, where the music could still clearly be heard even farther away from the stages. As the weather cooled for the evening, children played catch and people stopped to hula hoop in the clearings behind the crowds.
Between the two stages, a huge line of food vendors provided fans with options from the Ozark Mountain Biscuit Company to Strange Donuts and, of course, an abundance of barbecue. Multiple bars were also located in areas around the stages and by the merchandise tent.
Comfort of fans was clearly a focus of the festival, with features including a free water station and a phone charging station inside the park. Free shuttles providing rides to and from downtown to from the front gate eliminated the problem of nearly nonexistent parking at Stephens Lake Park.