Columbia City Council approves Roots 'N' Blues 'N' BBQ agreement

Thursday, September 10, 2009 | 12:01 a.m. CDT; updated 2:47 p.m. CDT, Thursday, September 10, 2009

COLUMBIA — The third annual Roots 'N' Blues 'N' BBQ Festival is officially ready to rock following Tuesday’s Columbia City Council meeting.

The council approved an operating agreement with Thumper Entertainment for this year’s festival. The agreement includes a $15,000 contribution from the Convention and Visitors Bureau's tourism development fund. The money will help Thumper cover the cost of its barbecue contest, bureau director Lorah Steiner said.

Roots 'n Blues 'n BBQ Festival Entertainment

The Roots 'N' Blues 'N' BBQ Festival will take place in downtown Columbia on Sept. 25 to 26. Tickets bought in advance are $10 for a one-day pass and $15 for a weekend pass. Tickets bought during the show will cost $15 for a one-day pass and $25 for a weekend pass. The stage in Flat Branch Park will be accessible for free. Here's the schedule of entertainment.

MPIX Stage at Seventh and Locust streets

Sept. 25

Sept. 26

Mediacom Stage in Peace Park

Sept. 25

Sept. 26

KOPN Community Stage at Flat Branch Park

Sept. 25

Sept. 26

Isle of Capri Stage at Whole Hog Lounge

Sept. 25

Sept. 26

Source: Roots 'N Blues 'N BBQ Festival Web site

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“They submitted an application to us for funding, and our advisory board reviews those requests. The advisory board thought it was a good use of that funding, that it was to be used to ‘up the ante’ on the barbecue contest,” Steiner said, adding that the contest has quickly become one of the top barbecue competitions in the state.

Steiner also said bureau board members think the festival is a good use of the money because it has helped Columbia’s image as a community with a vibrant arts scene.

“Aside from the number of people the festival brings into the marketplace, absolutely the biggest benefit it brings to our community is positive recognition and positive press outside the Columbia market,” Steiner said.

The council must approve any funding request recommended by the CVB, and it had not considered the $15,000 reimbursement before Tuesday’s meeting, despite several discussions of the city's role in the festival at council meetings over the summer.

The contribution came as a surprise to City Manager Bill Watkins.

“I have to be absolutely honest with the council," he said Tuesday night. "I didn’t even know that was working its way through the CVB process until it showed up on my desk from Lorah."

Watkins said he received the request from the bureau about a month before Tuesday’s meeting but decided it was “most appropriate” to include the funding request in the agreement instead of bringing it to the council separately.

In 2008, the bureau contributed $100,000 to the festival to help secure talent.

The council, at the behest of Fourth Ward Councilman Jerry Wade, amended the agreement to bring more of the proceeds back to the city. Wade proposed that instead of the city receiving $1 for each ticket sold that the city would receive $1 for each single-day pass sold and $1.65 for each weekend pass sold.

Thumper representative Richard King agreed to the amendment and said he was happy with the agreement.

“There are several entities we’re trying to please: the city of Columbia, the University of Missouri and several businesses downtown, and we can’t please everybody, but in this agreement, I think, for the most part, we have achieved a pretty reasonable agreement,” he said.

The council voted 6-0 to approve. Fifth Ward Councilwoman Laura Nauser recused herself because of a business conflict.

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