The Missoula Downtown Association will open the 11th Annual River City Roots Festival on Friday, August 26. This year’s festival will feature Missoula’s own Lil’ Smokies as the headliner Friday night for the first time in the festival’s history, while the multi-Grammy Award winning Rodney Crowell will close out the festival Saturday, August 27.
Roots Fest is admission free and full of family fun thanks to more than 30 Missoula-area businesses that sponsor the event. The festival celebrates all Missoula has to offer, including exceptional arts and culture, healthy living, sustainability, and local food and beverages. Major sponsors include the Missoulian, the Missoula Broadcasting Company, Big Sky Brewing, Bob Wards Sports and Outdoors, First Interstate Bank, and the Good Food Store.
Welcoming University of Montana students and their families back for fall semester, Roots Fest will kick off at 11 am Friday with the Juried Art Show on Main Street and the Family Fun Festival in Caras Park. Music on Main will commence Friday at 2:30 pm with Gipsy Moon. The festival’s Friday lineup also features Fruition, Darrell Scott, and the Lil’ Smokies – who take the stage at 8:30 pm.
Saturday’s activities start at 8:30am with the Four-Mile Fun Run sponsored by Blackfoot Telecommunications, DJ & A, Missoula Federal Credit Union, and the Runner’s Edge. The new route will start at the intersection of East Main and Higgins and finish in Caras Park. The race will loop runners through the picturesque streets of the University District and then follow the Riverfront trail system to Caras Park. Folks can register today at rivercityrootsfestival.com. The run is produced in partnership with Run Wild Missoula and all registration fees support the organization.
The Family Fun Fest, sponsored by Children’s Dentistry of the Rockies and Stockman Bank, begins again Saturday morning at 10am in Caras Park following the conclusion of the run.
Sponsored by First Security Bank and Farran Realty Partners (Corso Apartments and Copper Run Apartments), the Juried Art Show will continue at 11am Saturday on Main Street. The Art Show features 30 artists from around the region.
The Whizpops kick-off the Main Stage schedule at 12:30pm Saturday, and are followed by Good Time Travelers, Sol Driven Train, and the Jeff Austin Band. Singer/songwriter Rodney Crowell will take the stage at 8:30pm to close out the festival.
Festival-goers can bike, walk, and bus to Downtown Missoula, thanks to zero-fare Mountain Line, great bike parking, and trails and sidewalks throughout the community. Additionally, all public parking will be free of charge throughout Roots Fest weekend, thanks to the Missoula Parking Commission.
Food and beverages are available for sale at the festival. Those who are age 21 and older can purchase a wristband and a signature Roots Fest cup for $8, and the first drink is free. Nineteen local food vendors will be available for folks to purchase food.
To support sustainable practices during the festival, Roots Fest has once again teamed up with Climate Smart Missoula and the City of Missoula to showcase simple actions that leave the festival, community, and planet cleaner, safer, and healthier. Initiatives such as eliminating straws at the Roots Fest Street Bars, having a carbon-neutral stage, selling reusable cups, and teaming up with Republic Services for All-in-One Recycling bins are just a few of the sustainability initiatives this year.