All The Right Moves


Photo courtesy of L.G. Patterson

One of Columbia’s most eagerly anticipated festivals returns to Stephens Lake Park the weekend of Sept. 29–Oct. 1. A mass of music fans hungry for great listening, great eating and an all around great time will descend on the park for the 11th annual Roots N Blues N BBQ Festival. Last year’s fest drew approximately 32,000 guests.

According to Jamie Varvaro, Director of Marketing & Development for RNBNBBQ, fans can expect another amazing experience.

“Like every year, it really comes down to the whole of the event. Meaning, all the notes of this amazing Roots N Blues N BBQ composition are what make this a truly memorable experience,” says Varvaro. “The incredible Stephens Park venue, our art team that transforms this beautiful landscape into something truly magical, the Food & Beverage Row, the Vendor Village and, of course, the music.”

More than 30 artists from a wide variety of genres will perform: roots, blues, bluegrass, country, folk, rock, gospel — you name it, RNBNBBQ has it. The lineup features international, national, regional and local artists. Some of this year’s performers include Band of Horses, the Old 97’s, Ryan Adams, Leon Bridges, John Prine, Marshall Crenshaw and Emmylou Harris.

Fest-goers can sample food and enjoy cold beverages from lots of local and regional vendors. The fest will have everything from mouth-watering barbecue (of course!) to nachos, pizza, fish tacos, burgers and more. Lemonade, coffee and an array of adult beverages will be available, as well as delectable desserts. You’ll want to bring a refillable water bottle, camp chair or blanket, sunscreen and bug spray, and consider binoculars and a raincoat or waterproof poncho, too (umbrellas are not allowed). One thing you won’t have to bring is cash.

Varvaro says that this year the fest is following the lead of many other top festivals and major theme parks and going cashless. Your entry into the fest and all of your purchases happen through your RFID wristband that you can pre-load with cash and continue to load and monitor via the festival app on your smartphone. There will be a number of stations on the festival grounds where you’ll be able to load your wristband as well. Vendors will no longer accept cash, credit or debit card. Instead, it’s all connected to your wristband.

Another new offering is storage lockers that you can rent for a day or the entire weekend, made possible by the fest’s presenting sponsor, StorageMart.

Also new this year is the addition of a T-shirt contest. More than 20 designs were submitted and T-shirts featuring the winning design will be for sale in the festival tent. Varvaro said they received many really great designs, making the selection of a winner very challenging.

You can ride CoMo Connect to the fest for free, or take advantage of the free shuttle buses that will be running between the downtown parking garages and the park.

Fulfill your quest for a really fun fest and head out to this year’s RNBNBBQ. You won’t be disappointed. Learn more at

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