Fayetteville Roots Festival Celebrates the Ozarks

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FAYETTEVILLE (KFSM)- The Fayetteville Roots Festival starts Thursday (Aug. 28) in different stages across town. Its slogan is "A Mountain Town in its Natural State."

The main stage is the Fayetteville Town Center with a capacity of 1,000. Smaller stages include the library, George's Majestic Lounge and the Farmer's Market.

Co-founder Bryan Hembree describes it as a four-day urban intimate music and food festival because most venues are small. The event also highlights local food and cooking.

"You might see one act that's playing a very traditional fiddle song that's really what you might have heard in the 20s in the Ozarks but then you also have a band that's re-interpreting that," Hembree said. "It might be the fiddle, bango, drums, electric guitar and that's kind of more of a 21st century version."

There will be more than 100 performances, according to Hembree.

"We really look at roots music as the category and that's wide open," Hembree said. "Any music that's rooted in kind of American tradition, so it could be blues, it could be blue grass, it could be country, it could be folk."

Some events are free and others are already sold out.

Hembree said the roots festival is unique because most music festivals are outside and usually concert-goers camp out.

"We wanted to take that and turn it on its head and so we have a festival that’s inside the confines of Fayetteville," Hembree said. "So we have indoor stages in late August, which makes a lot of sense for Arkansas."

"People can bounce around between those stages and see a caliber of musical acts that they would expect at a big fest but it’s in an intimate environment and its centered in the center of Fayetteville.”

The roots festival also raises money for Feed Fayetteville, which helps people in need have access to healthy food. The event has donated close to $20,000 to the organization in the past three years.