COLUMBIA — Residents will be paying more for their tickets to the Roots 'N' Blues 'N' BBQ Festival this year, but it will be more fair to the customers, according to festival founder Steve Sweitzer.
Thumper Entertainment, the company in charge of the festival, decided to switch to a new ticket vending company, Etix, after the company found discrepancies in prices last year.
With the old ticket vendor, residents were paying inconsistent service charges at different locations, according to the festival's website. With the new vendor, residents will be charged a standard $3 service fee regardless of where they purchase tickets.
The Family Zone in Flat Branch Park and the barbecue competition will not require tickets.
The festival will be held Friday and Saturday. Music performances will take place across three different venues:
- Flat Branch Park near the intersection of Fourth and Cherry streets
- Peace Park near the intersection of Sixth and Elm streets
- The MPIX stage near the intersection of Seventh and Locust streets
Friday's headliners include:
- Shemekia Copeland at 5:15 p.m. on the MPIX stage.
- Anders Osborne featuring the Stanton Moore Trio at 7 p.m. on the MPIX stage.
- Del McCoury Band at 9 p.m. in Peace Park
Saturday will feature:
- The barbecue contest finals at noon
- Joanne Shaw Taylor at 3 p.m. on the MPIX stage
- Rhonda Vincent and The Rage at 7 p.m. on the MPIX stage
- Derek Trucks and Susan Tedeschi Band at 8:45 p.m. in Peace Park
- Dan Tyminski at 9 p.m. on the MPIX stage
The following streets will be closed to traffic from 9 a.m. Friday through 2 a.m. Sunday, according to a news release from the city:
- Fourth, Fifth and Sixth streets between Broadway and Locust Street
- Seventh Street between Cherry and Elm streets
- Cherry Street between Fourth and Seventh streets
- Locust Street between Sixth and Ninth streets
- Elm Street between Sixth and Eighth streets
During festival hours, which run from 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. on Friday and from 11 a.m to 11 p.m. on Saturday, free parking will be available at the following locations :
- Eighth and Cherry streets
- Sixth and Cherry streets
- Tenth and Cherry streets
- Eighth and Walnut streets
- Bicycle parking at Shakespeare's Pizza on the corner of Ninth and Elm streets
There will also be a shuttle service from Reactor Field on Providence Road to the Columbia Convention & Visitor’s Bureau at Providence Road and Elm Street, according to the release. Adult fare is $3, and children under 12 can ride free.
The shuttle hours are:
- Friday from 4 to 11:45 p.m.
- Saturday from 10 a.m. to 11:45 p.m.
The festival and business owners
Business owners are looking forward to the crowds the festival brings downtown.
Mike Atkinson, co-owner of The Candy Factory on Cherry Street, said the store has previously participated in the festival.
"We create a carnival atmosphere outside of the music,"Atkinson said."We like to tweak our plans a little bit each year."
The Candy Factory will close early on both festival days this year and set up tables in front of the store. Atkinson said employees will sell chocolate strawberries, caramel apples, popcorn and this year's new addition, roasted praline nuts.
Atkinson said he believes the festival gives people who don't normally come downtown a chance to explore the unique business.
Elizabeth Nicodemus, a sales assistant at Tiger Spirit on Ninth Street, said gamedays usually mean better business for the store. However, she does expect more customer traffic during the festival weekend.
"People don't normally come downtown unless they have something to do, because of parking," Nicodemius said.