6th Annual Roots Fest Arrives in Downtown Missoula August 27-28

The Missoula Downtown Association presents the 6th annual River City Roots Festival Saturday and Sunday, August 27-28, 2011 in the streets of Downtown Missoula. Sponsored by the Missoulian and nearly 50 other Missoula-area businesses, Roots Fest is a celebration of the city we live in and features Music on Main, a Juried Art Show, the Children’s Fun Festival in Caras Park, a Food Court, and a 4-Mile Run. The MDA is expecting upwards of 15,000 people to be in Missoula for next weekend’s admission-free street festival.


Leftover Salmon headlines two days and nine bands from all over the country centered on Americana music. Bands will be traveling to Missoula from as far away as Southern California, Maine, North Carolina and the Caribbean Islands.

Sponsored by Big Sky Brewing, DirecTV, and the Good Food Store, Music on Main opens at 12:30 pm on Saturday with Missoula’s own bluegrass band the Lil’ Smokies and continues all day with Leftover Salmon taking the stage at 8:30 pm. Sunday’s entertainment opens at 11:15 am with Missoula’s Salsa Loca and ends with Bennie and the Swamp Gators performing from 5-7 pm.

Saturday’s Line-up

12:30-2 pm……………………Lil’ Smokies

2:30-4 pm…………………….. Jason Spooner Trio

4:30-6 pm……………………..Pete Kartsounes Band

6:30-8 pm……………………..Acoustic Syndicate

8:30-10:30 pm……………….Leftover Salmon

Sunday’s Line-up

11:15 am-12:30 pm………..Salsa Loca

1-2:30 pm……………………..Two Bit Franks

3-4:30 pm……………………..Taj Weekes & Adowa

5-7 pm………………………….Bennie & the Swamp Gators

Additional information on each performance group can be found on the Roots Fest website: www.rivercityrootsfestival.com or in the Roots Fest program, distributed in the Missoulian this Sunday, Aug. 21.


Adjudicated into the show by a panel of art enthusiasts, 26 fine art artists will be showcasing and selling their wares on West Main Street from 10 am-6 pm both Saturday and Sunday. Sponsored by the Holiday Inn-Downtown at the Park and Sterling Savings Bank, the Art Show features 17 artists from Western Montana, plus three artists from Idaho, two from Wyoming, and one each from Arizona, Maryland, Utah and Washington in the mediums of sculpture, metal, glass, painting, jewelry, photography, fiber and ceramics.

Additional information on each artist and their work can be found on the Roots Fest website at: www.rivercityrootsfestival.com.


Caras Park is all about the kids at Roots Fest with nearly two dozen interactive activities and learning centers, as well as a children’s performance stage both days. Produced in partnership with SpectrUM and sponsored by Community Medical Center and Children’s Pediatric Dentistry of the Rockies, the Children’s Fun Fest runs from 12-6 pm both Saturday and Sunday with the Youth Rock Band Showcase on stage in Caras Park from 5-8 pm Saturday evening. Highlight activities in Caras Park include screen-printing and hat making with Zootown Arts, the Montana Photo Booth, face painting, Mismo Gymnastics Obstacle Course, and Rocky Mountain Ballet Theater School just to name a few.

Highlight performances in Caras Park include Curtain Up!, the Sci Girls High Tech Fashion Show, Aikido, Djebe Bara West African drumming and dance workshop, Manik Harum Balinese percussion workshop, Pinewood Studios, Tangled Tones, Club Schmed, and a whole lot more!


Produced in partnership with Run Wild Missoula, the Roots Fest Run is a four-mile run from Downtown Missoula, east on Spruce Street, up Duncan Drive, down through Greenough Park, back into Downtown and finishing on Main Street in front of the Main Stage. Participants can review the course map on the Roots Fest website as well. Last year’s race drew more than 400 participants.

An unusual distance on a distinct course, the Roots Run offers $1,500 in cash and two pairs of airline tickets from Allegiant Air (good to Vegas, Mesa or L.A.) as prizes for the top male and female finishers. One additional pair of tickets will be awarded to a randomly-drawn registrant following the race. Sponsored by Allegiant Air, Runner’s Edge, St. Patrick Hospital & Health Sciences Center and WGM Group, the run commences at 11 am Sunday morning, August 28.

Registration is currently open online at www.rivercityrootsfestival.com or in person at Runner’s Edge. Race day registration is also available from 9-11 am at the start of the race underneath the Washington Pavilion on East Railroad. Runners receive an Asics run shirt and a free Big Sky beer (ages 21 and older) upon crossing the finish line.


Along with a variety of beer and wine available for sale, Roots Fest will showcase a 14-vendor Food Court on Ryman Street between Main and Front with all but one from the Missoula area. Open from 12-10 pm on Saturday and 12-7 pm on Sunday, the Food Court is sponsored by First Security Bank and Optimum. Additionally, there will be four food vendors located in Caras Park at the Children’s Fun Festival.


New this year to the Roots Fest schedule is a Downtown-wide Sidewalk Sale Saturday and Sunday, August 27-28. From the Hip Strip and throughout Downtown, nearly 20 retailers will have markdowns on summer clearance items.

Roots Fest is a unique experience for both residents and tourists and serves as Missoula’s Welcome Back celebration for students returning to school at The University of Montana. It’s a celebration of the end of summer as well, as most Missoula-area children return to school on Monday, Aug. 29. It’s a dynamic event that draws folks from across all demographics from children to seniors and from all socio-economic backgrounds.

Other notes of interest and important information include:

Transportation & Parking: Mountain Line will provide FREE service all day on Saturday, Aug. 28 from 7 am to 7 pm. Downtown features FREE parking all day Saturday and Sunday. The Central Park Garage is open on both Ryman and Main with more than 400 spaces available. There are also lots of bike racks available for bike parking throughout Downtown.

Greening: The MDA continues its efforts to keep Roots Fest a sustainable and low-carbon footprint event with a variety of greening initiatives, thanks to Green Sponsors: Missoula Federal Credit Union, Northwestern Energy, and Territorial Landworks. These initiatives include providing water refilling stations for consumers, recycling, encouraging alternative transportation, purchasing carbon offsets for band travel and more. Additional information on Greening can be found online or in the Roots Fest program.

Consumption: Beer and wine is available for purchase and consumption inside the street closure area. Identification is required to purchase a wristband and Roots Fest commemorative beer cup for $6, and the first beverage is FREE. Different-colored wristbands will be required for each day. Open containers are NOT ALLOWED outside of the street closure area.

What’s Allowed, What’s Not: Folks are allowed to bring lawn chairs, but pets, skateboards and bikes are not allowed inside the festival boundary.

Festival & Band Merchandise: CDs, T-shirts and beverage cozies will be available for sale at the Roots Fest Merchandise Table. This year’s merchandise features a limited number of Roots Fest tie-died T-shirts.

Sponsors: More than 50 local businesses and non-profit organizations contribute cash or inkind services to make Roots Fest a reality. A full list of sponsors is published in the Roots Fest program.

Volunteers: Over 300 volunteers, working an average of four hours each, are needed to make Roots Fest come to life. Volunteers are still needed and can sign up for a shift by calling the Missoula Downtown Association at 543-4238 or via email at mda@missouladowntown.com. Volunteers receive a Roots Fest T-shirt, beer cup and wristband (for those over age 21); volunteer check-in is inside the Central Park Garage. Requests for interviews and additional information can be directed to the Missoula Downtown Association at 543-4238. Supporting Documents: Full Schedule, List of Artists, Children’s Festival Schedule, List of Food Vendors.

Downtown – Where Missoula Lives!