Music, food fest celebrates 10 years

It was 10 years ago that a humble new festival rolled into Fayetteville with the moniker of “intimate urban music and food festival.” A decade later, the Roots Festival has expanded to five nights of 100-plus music and culinary experiences across two cities and only continues to grow in prestige and influence with each passing year. But the festival manages to maintain its intimate feel by focusing on the community, co-founder Bryan Hembree says.

“It’s this notion that this is not just one footprint, one field where everyone has gathered all together in the same place. But there are multiple different things happening across Fayetteville and Northwest Arkansas that we still have that kind of community cohesion and gathering, it’s just that people are all coming for a different slice,” Hembree shares.


Roots Festival

WHEN — Aug. 21-25

WHERE — Venues across Fayetteville and Bentonville

COST — Multi-day music passes sold out; various other passes and tickets are still available. Prices vary.


“There’s so much happening that that’s the glue. It’s not one singular experience, but it’s a multitude of experiences that we’re getting to the point that we’re all sharing together.”

Those experiences range from the mainstage performances — which include a blend of returning fan favorites and new faces — to the VIP and community culinary events, to the free programming happening across the region. It really does feel like a 10-year-old festival where there’s something for everyone, Hembree promises. The addition and expansion of free and low-cost programming, on both the music and culinary sides, aligns with organizers’ goal of creating a festival for the community. And while the mainstages include some exciting collaborations and surprises, the Roots Festival continues to showcase the best of what Northwest Arkansas venues, chefs and musicians have to offer.

With more than 100 events over the festival’s five days, there’s no way we could list them all here. But get a taste of Roots Festival’s schedule below, and whether you’re attending all, some or none of the festival, join us in taking pride in our region’s creators establishing something so magical for music and food lovers.


Fayetteville Town Center

Friday, Aug. 23

3:25 p.m. — Anthony DaCosta

4:50 p.m. — Joe Purdy with The Honey Dewdrops and Smokey & The Mirror

6:15 p.m. — Amy Helm

7:40 p.m. — The Cate Brothers

8:40 p.m. — The Crazy Chester Award

9:15 p.m. — Mavis Staples

Saturday, Aug. 24

3 p.m. — Ana Egge

5 p.m. — Smokey & The Mirror and The Sentimentals: The Denmark Project

6:25 p.m. — Rhiannon Giddens & Francisco Turrisi

8:05 p.m. — The Milk Carton Kids

9:45 p.m. — Hiss Golden Messenger

Sunday, Aug. 25

2:40 p.m. — Her Crooked Heart

4:05 p.m. — Eliza Gilkyson

5:30 p.m. — Los Texamaniacs

6:55 p.m. — Darrell Scott Bluegrass Band

8:30 p.m. — Rising Appalachia

Late Night Stages

Thursday, Aug. 22

8:30 p.m. — The Mighty Pines. George’s Majestic Lounge*

11:15 p.m. — J Wagner. Graduate Hotel*

12:15 a.m. — Open Mic with Joe Mack. Graduate Hotel*

Friday, Aug. 23

9 p.m. — Women of Roots featuring Kaylyn Fay, Cindy Woolf, Sarah Hughes, Diane Rudolph, and the Kingfish House Band. Kingfish Dive Bar*

10:30 p.m. — Dylan Earl. Maxine’s Taproom*

11 p.m. — Arkansauce. George’s Majestic Lounge^

11:15 p.m. — Ana Egge. Graduate Hotel*

11:15 p.m. — The Honey Dewdrops and Smokey & The Mirror. Heartbreak House^

12:15 a.m. — The Sentimentals. Graduate Hotel*

12:15 a.m. — Big Smith. George’s Majestic Lounge^

12:15 a.m. — Milk Carton Kids (duo). Heartbreak House^

Saturday, Aug. 24

9 p.m. — Bob Dylan Tribute featuring Chooch, Adam Cox, Ashtyn Barbaree, Jeff Kearney, Nick Caffery, and the Kingfish House Band. Kingfish Dive Bar*

10:30 p.m. — The Deer. Maxine’s Taproom*

11 p.m. — Big Smith. George’s Majestic Lounge^

11:15 p.m. — Her Crooked Heart. Graduate Hotel*

12:05 a.m. — Joe Purdy. Heartbreak House^

12:15 a.m. — Arkansauce. George’s Majestic Lounge^

12:15 a.m. — Open Mic with Joe Mack. Graduate Hotel*

Special Events

Sunday, Aug. 25

Noon — Tri Cycle Farm Jamboree. Tri Cycle Farms^

Community Programming*

Thursday, Aug. 22

2 p.m. — Interactive Gallery: Still on the Hill’s Ozark Instrument Museum. Stage 18

4 p.m. — The Legendary Pacers. George’s Majestic Lounge

Friday, Aug. 23

Noon — Live Radio Broadcast: Ozarks At Large – NPR’s KUAF 91.3FM. Fayetteville Public Library

Saturday, Aug. 24

10 a.m. — Kids & Family Concert: Papa Rap & La Arkansalsa Band. Fayetteville Public Library

11 a.m. — Watch Party: Preview of “Country Music – A Film by Ken Burns.” Fayetteville Public Library

11 a.m. — Pop-Up Gallery: Nudie Rodeo Tailors & Country Music. Fayetteville Public Library

1:30 p.m. — Live Radio Broadcast: Live from Fayetteville Roots with Kyle Kellams of KUAF 91.3FM. Fayetteville Public Library

Sunday, Aug. 25

Noon — Skinny Gypsies with Brunch by Persephone on Wheels. Maxine’s Taproom

1 p.m. — Film Preview: “Country Music – A Film by Ken Burns.” Fayetteville Public Library

2 p.m. — Podcast Preview: “Points South – An Oxford American Podcast” featuring OA associate editor Sara Lewis, and Los Texmaniacs. Fayetteville Public Library

2:30 p.m. — Neil Young Tribute. Maxine’s Taproom

3:30 p.m. — Discussion & Book Signing: “Hipbillies” featuring Jared Phillips, Crescent Dragonwagon, and Guy Ames. Fayetteville Public Library

5 p.m. — Noah Richmond’s Little Monster. Maxine’s Taproom

7 p.m. — Fayetteville Family Band Jam Session. Maxine’s Taproom


Friday, Aug. 23

3 p.m. — Crescent Dragonwagon’s “Let My Peaches Be.” Fayetteville Public Library

Saturday, Aug. 24

Noon — With Discussion: “Country Music – A Film by Ken Burns,” featuring Rhiannon Giddens, The Honey Dewdrops, Darrell Scott, and Julie Thomas of AETN. Fayetteville Public Library


Friday, Aug. 23

Masterclasses at Brightwater: A Center for The Study of Food in Bentonville ($20 suggested donation)

10 a.m.-3 p.m. — classes led by local and visiting chefs throughout the day, hosted in Brightwater’s Ozark Theater, Culinary Kitchen, Seasonal Kitchen, Sage Classroom, Bakery, and grilling on the Patio

Taste & Talk @ The Holler

11 a.m. — Brewers in the Round

12:30 p.m. — Jon Bonné on wine

2 p.m. — Whiskey 101

Bean to Bar @ Markham & Fitz

11 a.m.-2 p.m. — Chocolate Tours & Sampling

Beer Tastings @ Bike Rack Brewing Co.

12-2 p.m. — with live music on the patio

Saturday, Aug. 24

Roots Food & Spirits (pass required)

12-10 p.m. — A culinary cornucopia featuring more than 50 chefs participating in themed tastings events, spirit and beer activations, panel discussions, demonstrations, and more.

^ Ticket outside of festival passes required (but festival passes will include access)

NWA Democrat-Gazette/JOCELYN MURPHY The 10th year of Roots Festival will see the return of fan favorites, as well as compelling new faces on the both the mainstages and late night stages.

NWA Democrat-Gazette/J.T. WAMPLER Roots co-founder Bryan Hembree (right) is also one half of Smokey & The Mirror along with wife Bernice. The duo have had a busy year recording and releasing two albums (one through Haxton Road Studios in Fayetteville) and traveling abroad. The pair of course takes the stage during Roots this week and will be joined by several other Roots artists for their sets. On the Saturday mainstage, Denmark group The Sentimentals will perform with Smokey & The Mirror, following a collaboration between the two groups earlier this year.

NWA Democrat-Gazette/J.T. WAMPLER Chef Chrissy Sanderson (left) of Fayetteville’s Mockingbird Kitchen and chef Joshua Walters of Bentonville’s MOD Restaurant & Social work on their winning entry during a previous Roots Festival Chef Cookoff. The cooking competition takes place during the Fayetteville Farmers’ Market on the Saturday of the festival and is one of the most popular events because the public can watch the chefs shop for their ingredients at the market, then prepare dishes in front of the crowd.

NWA Democrat-Gazette/J.T. WAMPLER Allison Russell sings with her band Birds of Chicago at last year’s Roots Festival.

NAN What’s Up on 08/18/2019