Roots 'N' Blues 'N' BBQ looking to move to Stephens Lake Park

Thursday, December 13, 2012 | 6:49 p.m. CST; updated 4:34 p.m. CDT, Tuesday, July 2, 2013

COLUMBIA — The Roots 'N' Blues 'N' BBQ music festival might move to a new location.

Pending city council approval, the annual three-day event will take place at Stephens Lake Park in 2013, a change from its previous location in downtown Columbia. 

This past summer, the festival organizers put on a concert at Stephens Lake Park, outside of Roots 'N' Blues 'N' BBQ, and it got good reactions from fans, said festival director Julie King. "We thought we would try to do it again with Roots 'N' Blues."

The new location will provide more space for attendees and will reduce crowding, according to a news release. The festival will take place on the east side of the park, away from the lake.

"It is a beautiful area, and the festival will be a great use of the park," King said. "It will also cut down on the use of city resources."

Changes in the festival

The community stage where local artists and children from the Blues in Schools program usually perform — which was free in past years — will be included in the paid area, but ticket prices will be reduced, King said.

The organizers have decided to eliminate the barbecue contest but plan to increase the number of barbecue vendors to help make up for it and to cut down on lines. Next year, the festival will also feature non-barbecue vendors from local restaurants and retailers.

More than 30 artists are slated to perform during the festival. The list has not been released yet. 

The event will take place Sept. 20 to Sept. 22 with the 10k and half-marathon scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 21. Pre-sale tickets go on sale Dec. 17.

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Kevin Gamble December 14, 2012 | 10:35 a.m.

This sounds like a terrible idea to me. Stephens Lake should be a nature area first and foremost. The increase in events like this will just bring widespread damage, litter, and abuse to the park, and will bring a great deal of noise pollution to the surrounding neighborhoods.

Keeping the event downtown makes a lot more sense. If the event organizers want to horde the proceeds (and not share the benefits of a festival with other downtown businesses) and dodge city expenses and regulations, let them find somewhere more appropriate to do it.

There's already far too much intrusive development in this supposedly natural area of town. This is a park, not a major event venue.

(Report Comment)
Richard Saunders December 14, 2012 | 2:17 p.m.

I think it's a great idea. Stephen's Lake is a PARK, while downtown is a business district not suited for massive crowds.

Simply put, public spaces should be utilized for public events. Any events downtown should be limited in size to the public spaces that are available.

Referring to a well-manicured park as a "nature area" is quite the misnomer. Nature areas simply do not have mowing schedules (nor should they).

(Report Comment)

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