Columbia’s annual Roots N Blues Festival starts Friday for a three-day series of concerts that will bring local and nationally known musicians to two main stages in Stephens Lake Park.
The festival puts women musicians in the spotlight with a lineup that includes singers Brandi Carlile, Mavis Staples and Sheryl Crow, as well as at least two dozen other bands and solo performers. For a full schedule, go to rootsnbluesfestival.com.
The entertainment begins at 5 p.m. Friday and starts at noon both Saturday and Sunday.
Roots N Blues might be all about the music, but music lovers can’t enjoy “dinner and a show” without the dinner. Between set lists, festivalgoers will be greeted with food trucks, jewelry displays and other merchandise.
Here’s a rundown of food, beverages and craft vendors.
Fresh Lemonade Co.
This isn’t your neighborhood lemonade stand. Founded in February, Fresh Lemonade Co. creates 12 different flavors of lemonade, all hand-squeezed and crafted right in front of the customer. Unique lemonade flavors include lavender, peach, blue raspberry and sugar-free lemonade.
Owner and founder Luke Kindle believes that the personal touch of a family-owned business, along with flavor options, sets Fresh Lemonade Co. apart.
“It’s a different alternative to alcohol,” Kindle said. “When you spend money with us, you know it’s going to be a big drink that you’ll have for a while.”
Fresh Lemonade Co.’s stand can be found in Vendor Grove at Roots N Blues, rather than on Vendor Row.
Lakota has been serving customers in-house roasting and brewing for 27 years, along with pastries, sandwiches and other drink options.
Another hotspot in The District, Broadway Brewery has offered world-class beers and American-style food since 2009.
Slow Jam BBQ
Following Fresh Ideas’ purchase of Smokin’ Chick’s, the restaurant has evolved into the rebranded Slow Jam BBQ. With the name change, Slow Jam BBQ revitalized a high quality of meat for the tender, smoky taste of its popular brisket and pulled pork.
Brian Dittmer, vice president of operations for Fresh Ideas, credits much of Slow Jam BBQ’s mastery to the unique craftsmanship of Chef Cheyney Andrews, who refuses to share his special Slow Jam spice blend recipe with anyone.
Dittmer said that Chef Andrews does not take shortcuts in the time it takes to correctly prepare the meats, even if he has to start smoking them in the early hours of the morning.
“Our passion is food and service,” Dittmer said. “All it takes (for Andrews) is one person to take a bite of something and get that smile on their face, and it does it for him.”
Big Daddy’s BBQ
From the restaurant on Garth Avenue to a food truck at a festival, Big Daddy’s BBQ’s simple menu offers ribs, brisket, chicken, fried fish, pulled pork nachos and more.
Southern, Cajun and more
Ozark Mountain Biscuit
The Southern-style food from Ozark Mountain Biscuit’s iconic food truck includes biscuits with gravy, fried chicken breasts with an over-easy egg on top and classic Missouri fried green tomatoes.
Wrap It Up/Lorralee’s
For a healthier food option, this food truck serves hoagies, wraps and rice bowls with vegetarian options as well. If you’re looking to keep that BBQ feel of the festival, look for the Hula Chick hoagie with shredded chicken, BBQ sauce, provolone cheese and pineapple coleslaw.
Continuing the health-centered trend, 12 Baskets calls itself a “radically fresh” and “radically fashioned” food truck, with food made from scratch without fryers or microwaves and locally sourced when possible.
VooDoo Sno treats customers to New Orleans-style sno-balls, an upgraded version of the snow cone. The food truck provides the typical fruity flavors along with red velvet cake, bubble gum and pink lemonade, among others. Not to mention, it has a lineup of “signature potions” with candy toppings.
Craft and community
Food Bank for Central and Northeast Missouri
Across a 32-county area, the food bank strives to share food and bring hope to people facing food insecurity, distributing around 30 million pounds of food per year. Founded in 1981, the organization is returning to Roots N Blues to engage with the community and spread the word about food bank’s work.
Communications Marketing Manager Seth Wolfmeyer said that volunteers can pack and sort food, but the organization’s duties spread much farther than the surface.
“People are interested and excited to learn more about that because it’s way larger a presence in our community than most people realize,” Wolfmeyer said.
The custom fragrance shop, located right on Ninth Street, offers shampoos, moisturizers, sugar scrubs, lip gloss, shaving accessories, greeting cards and even jewelry.
While Drake Anthony is foremost an accessory store for hand-customized jewelry, the Kansas City brand also provides interior design consultations and fashion advice.