14th Annual River City Roots Festival Begins Friday, August 23


The Missoula Downtown Association will open the 14th Annual River City Roots Festival on Friday, August 23.  This year’s festival will feature Honey Island Swamp Band as the headliner Friday night, while Leftover Salmon will close out the festival Saturday, August 24.

Roots Fest is admission free and full of family-friendly fun thanks to support from 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 Destination Missoula, Windfall, the Trail 103.3, Dick Anderson Construction, Big Sky Brewing, Bob Wards Sports and Outdoors, Blackfoot and First Interstate Bank.

Friday’s events will kick-off at 11am with the Art Show on Main and food vendors open for Downtown employees to enjoy lunch. Music on Main Street will start at 12:30pm with The Zootown Arts Community Center and its Kids Rock Camp Band on the Main Stage. Local kids’ bands Kings & Queens and Tambourine Queen, who are supported by Tangled Tones will take to the Main Stage from 1:15-2:00pm. Missoula’s own Moneypenny will take the stage at 2:30 pm. Rounding out the festival’s Friday lineup includes Ashleigh Flynn & the Riveters, The Black Lillies and Honey Island Swamp Band – who take the stage at 8:30 pm.

For those looking for outdoor recreation prior to enjoying the festival, Saturday kicks off at 8:30 am with the Four-Mile Fun Run Race sponsored by Farran Realty Partners, First Security Bank, DJ&A, Pepsi and Runner’s Edge. Similar to 2018, the route will start at the intersection of East Main and Higgins and finish in Caras Park. The race will loop runners near Silver Park and the Old Sawmill District and then follow the Riverfront Trail to Caras Park.  Folks can register today at rivercityrootsfestival.com. The run is produced in partnership with Run Wild Missoula.  All registration fees support the running club.

The Family Roots Fest, sponsored by Children’s Dentistry of the Rockies, T-Mobile and Opportunity Bank, begins again Saturday morning at 10am in Caras Park following the conclusion of the run. Families can enjoy entertainment from groups such Missoula Taekwondo Center, On Center Performing Arts, Big Sky ATA, Be Bear Aware, Animal Wonders, Climate Smart Missoula and more. Dozens of activities from local groups will also be featured during the Family Roots Fest.  Paying homage to the strong Missoula art scene, the Art Show will continue at 11am Saturday on Main Street and will feature nearly 30 artists from around the region.

Continuing Saturday’s Main Stage tradition for young festival attendees, The Whizpops will kick-off the Main Stage schedule at 12:30pm Saturday, and are followed by Cascade Crescendo, Guy Clark Tribute – Shawn Camp & Verlon Thompson and Acoustic Syndicate. Leftover Salmon 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, and trails and sidewalks throughout the community. For the third-consecutive year, there will be a free bike valet, thanks to Climate Smart Missoula and Missoula in Motion. The bike valet will be located on Main Street between Ryman and Higgins. 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, reusable Roots Fest cup for $8, and the first drink is free. Roots Fest stainless steel pints are also available and include a wristband and free drink for $15. Almost 20 local food vendors will be available for folks to purchase food both on Ryman Street and in Caras Park during Family Roots Fest.

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, hosting 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. In participation with Missoula’s Zero to Fifty Initiative, the MDA has launched a composting program in partnership with the food vendors and Missoula Compost Collection. Sponsoring Roots Fest greening initiatives is Mountain Line.