Your guide to navigating Columbia, MO's Roots N Blues N BBQ Festival
Courtesy of Yep Roc Records

It’s just about here! The Roots N Blues N BBQ Festival returns to Stephens Lake Park in Columbia, Missouri for a long weekend of fun Sept. 29 through Oct. 1. Music will emanate from two stages, with Columbia’s own honky-tonk band Paul Weber & the Scrappers kicking off the festival on one stage while rockabilly kings Big Sandy and his Fly-Rite Boys get the crowd heated up on the other.

By the time the festival comes to a close, more than 30 performances will have taken place, including shows by Leon Bridges, Ryan Adams, Amanda Shires, John Prine, Emmylou Harris, Old 97’s, Lee Fields & the Expressions, Marshall Crenshaw with the Bottle Rockets and Gary Clark, Jr. Of course, there will be plenty of BBQ available for purchase during the event.

While there’s nothing difficult about navigating the Roots N Blues N BBQ Festival, it never hurts to be prepared. Here are answers to a few questions you might have:

What is parking like for the festival? Where’s the best place to park and how much does it cost?

Festival organizers have made this really easy for all. The best thing to do is leave your vehicle in downtown Columbia and catch the free shuttle to the festival. Shuttles are running constantly so you can arrive at the festival at a time of your choosing and likewise leave when you want. Shuttles can be boarded at various stops throughout downtown and at select hotel locations.

I really like BBQ but my friends don’t care for it. Will there be something else available for them to eat?

Oh yes! BBQ is the order of the day but an array of food trucks and vendors will also be offering other types of food. Outside food is not allowed (trust us, you won’t need it!)

There are a few acts that I’m really into, and I would love to get the autograph of the legendary Booker T or get a picture taken with Band of Horses. Is there any chance this might happen?

There is a chance! Some (but not all) of the performers will appear at the merchandise table after their performance where they’ll pose for photos and sign CDs. The best thing to do is check at the merch table well in advance; they’ll have a list of who is scheduled to appear. If there’s someone you want to meet, get to the merch table immediately after their show to get a good place in line.

I generally don’t like carrying cash around. Can I use a credit card at the festival?

Actually, this year for the first time, Roots N Blues N BBQ is using a cashless system for all payments. Cash, credit and debit cards will not be honored. Here’s how it works: Your festival wristband utilizes RFID technology that holds your cashless account which you “top up” with funding before you go. Then just tap your wristband at vendor pay stations to make a purchase. You will be able to top up your wristband during the event as needed. More information on this is here.

I want to bring my kids to the festival. Is there anything to do that’s geared to children? Do kids need a ticket?

Kids 12-years-old or under receive free general admission with a paid adult admission. Kids generally have a blast romping around the large park, but there is an area geared for children that includes a Ferris wheel.

Are adult beverages served at the festival? I like to wash my BBQ down with a nice cold beer.

Of course! The libation of your choice will be easy to obtain. And since you like frosty brews, keep an eye out for Logboat Brewing’s special “Amarillo by Morning/Roots N Blues N BBQ” beer!

Got more questions? Find all the info you need at the official Roots N Blues N BBQ Festival website here.