The Return of Festivals

There's good news for music fans! With the country making progress in the fight against COVID-19, festival organizers are going ahead with plans to bring live music back in a big way. Here are the details on some of the music festivals set to take place later this year.

Roots N Blues Festival - Sept. 24-26 - Columbia, MO

As it has for many years, the Roots N Blues Festival will take place in Columbia's expansive Stephens Lake Park where two stages will host stars like Sheryl Crow, Mavis Staples, Brandi Carlile and Tanya Tucker along with lots of other blues and roots music luminaries. Also set to appear are Larkin Poe, Amanda Shires, Shemekia Copeland, Joseph, Mickey Guyton, Tank and the Bangas, Rising Appalachia, Natalie Hemby, Liza Anne, One Way Traffic, Flor de Toloache and the Memphis-based Southern Avenue. In case you haven't noticed the trend yet, the ladies rule this year! Also on the bill are Lily Moonflower, Violet & the Undercurrents, Burney Sisters & Friends, Amanda Fish, Kassi Ashton, Halle Kearns and Molly Healey String Project. Roots N Blues is renowned for having plenty of good eats on hand too, so bring your appetite. Tickets and more details are here.

Railbird - Aug. 28-29 - Lexington, KY

Taking place at Lexington's The Grounds at Keeneland, this two-day event is absolutely packed with musical fun. Headlining the festival's first day will be My Morning Jacket and Leon Bridges along with support acts Black Pumas, Billy Strings, Margo Price, Midland, Japanese Breakfast, Sarah Jarosz, John Moreland, Joy Oladokun and seven others. The Dave Matthews Band and Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit are the headliners on the 29th; also on the bill that day are Tanya Tucker, the Revivalists, Band of Horses, Khruangbin, Colter Wall, The War and Treaty, Cedric Burnside, Southern Avenue and half a dozen others. There will be lots of good Kentucky bourbon on hand and culinary experiences to go with it, and music fans will also have a chance to do some Off Track Betting on horse races. Ticket options and other info is here.

MerleFest - Sept. 16-19 - Wilkesboro, NC

The late Doc Watson called his music "traditional plus" and that's a good description of what will be wafting through the air during this four-day festival named after Doc's late son, Eddy Merle Watson, and that takes place on the campus of Wilkes Community College. The bulk of the festival talent is yet to be announced but the headliners have been booked and they are a stellar bunch: Mavis Staples, LeAnn Rimes, Melissa Etheridge, Tedeschi Trucks, Donna the Buffalo, the Sam Bush Band, the Waybacks and Sythian. Normally held in April, this year's fest takes place in mid-September when the surrounding foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains will be absolutely gorgeous. More information including ticketing options can be found here.

Opelika Songwriters Festival - Oct. 15-17 - Opelika, AL

This three-day fest takes place at various venues in historic downtown Opelika where over 40 artists ranging from well-known GRAMMY Award winners to local artists will perform. Set to appear are The War and Treaty, Shawn Mullins, Kim Richey, Dark Water, Mindy Smith, Dan Navarro, Sarah Lee Guthrie, Jeff Black, Grayson Capps, Amy Lavere, Charlie Mars, Leigh Nash, Chris Stills, Steve Poltz, Abe Partridge, Liz Longley, Martha's Trouble and Pierce Pettis. Among the other songwriters on the impressive lineup are Wyatt Edmondson, B.B. Palmer, Katie Martin, Janet Simpson, Adam Hodd, Sugarcane Jane, Jennifer Lynn Simpson and more than a dozen others. Ticket info is here.

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