KELLER WILLIAMS’ GRATEFUL GRASS TO HEADLINE ADMISSION FREE ART & MUSIC FESTIVAL
Music. Art. Food. Community. All the ingredients that make up the Missoula Downtown Association’s River City Roots Festival returns to the streets of Downtown Friday and Saturday August 26-27. This annual event celebrates everything that makes Missoula, Missoula. Supported in part by title sponsors First Interstate Bank and Bob Ward’s Sports & Outdoors, Missoula’s Signature event is admission-free 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. Each year we bring something unique to the streets of Downtown, and it’s something that everyone can enjoy thanks to our admission-free model. If you haven’t been to Roots Fest, it’s going to be the perfect year to experience a weekend in Downtown Missoula.”
Music on Main – Sponsored by ATG Cognizant, Big Sky Brewing, Blackfoot Communications, and Dick Anderson Construction – music commences at 12:30 pm 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 12:30pm 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, August 27 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 8:30pm.
The Art Show will open the festival at 12pm on Friday and 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. The Art Show is sponsored by The Art Galleries at 120 N. Higgins: Allez!, Art Vault, Radius Galley, Relic, Stockman Bank, and Your Home Improvement Co.
The Roots Run will commence Saturday, August 27 at 8:30 am on E. Main Street and ends in the newly renovated Caras Park. Produced by Run Wild Missoula and sponsored by DJ&A Engineers, First Security Bank, HDR, and the Runner’s Edge, 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/.
The Family Fun Fest – sponsored by Children’s Dentistry of the Rockies and Opportunity Bank – runs from 10am to 2pm Saturday, August 27 in Caras Park. Families will find more than 25 local kid-friendly organizations offering activities and performances.
As a showcase of Green Initiatives, Roots Fest has several sustainability practices that are standard – thanks to sponsors Dorsey Whitney, Mountain Line and WGM Group. 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 6pm – 10:30pm.
Food & 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.
Back again for 2022 is the 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, August 27 at 10am, 1pm, and 3pm. Information and registration for the tours will be available at www.missouladowntown.com/unseen-missoula.
Roots Fest is admission free and accessible for all thanks to over 30 Missoula businesses. As the signature celebration of the city we love, all attendees are encouraged 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. While folks are encouraged to bike, walk and bus to the festival, parking will be free throughout Downtown on Friday, Aug. 26, thanks to the generosity of the Missoula Parking Commission.
The full River City Roots Fest schedule follows. For more information, visit www.rivercityrootsfestival.com or contact the Downtown Missoula Partnership office via phone (406-543-4238), email ([email protected]) or in person (218 E. Main St).