Roots Fest celebrates bountiful local talent in beautiful setting all weekend long
The sky is blue and all the leaves are green, the sun’s as warm as a baked potato. What, precisely, does this mean? It means festival season is upon us—and that homegrown favorite, Roots Fest, is right around the corner. The three-day celebration runs May 22-24 at Cherokee Farms in LaFayette, GA (about 40 minutes south of Chattanooga), and this year boasts one of the most exciting schedules of local performers to date.
The festival, now in its ninth year, was originally conceived by Chattanooga musician Ada Barnes as a showcase for local performers. The event has risen from humble beginnings (most of the attendees at the first Roots Fest were performers and staff) to a robust celebration that saw well over 1,500 music lovers attending last year.
Many factors have contributed to the success of Roots Fest. There’s the location: Cherokee Farms is gorgeous, well-suited to festivals and gatherings, and is hardly even a hop down the road. The event is family-friendly. Kids under age 12 are admitted free and have their own arts and crafts tent, waterslide and other amusements.
Lovers of the great outdoors can enjoy swimming, fishing and hiking, nightly bonfires and spontaneous drum circles. Camping is free, hot showers are free and a host of vendors will be offering a wide range of food options. The Magical Forest Lounge features The Hillbilly Bar, an assortment of games and group-led meditation, yoga, and t’ai chi.
Roots Fest has always been, first and foremost, about the music. This year’s lineup is as wonderful a collection of local talent as you’ll find in one place. Scheduled performers include Hot Damn, MDAHTS, Danimal Planet, The Scarlet Love Conspiracy, Nick Lutsko, the Ryan Oyer Band, the Jess Goggans Band, The Iscariots, Decibella, Tab Spencer, Jon Wimpee, the Molly Maguires, Marlow Drive, Shabti, Donna Hopkins, CBDB, Jalil Muhammad and Triple Threat, Stereo Dig, the Reigns, the Average and more still to be announced.
Beyond the list of scheduled events, Roots Fest has always hosted a variety of wandering, unscheduled performers. Jugglers, poi spinners, artists and painters, that shoeless guy with a guitar who knows how to play “Wish You Were Here” (sort of) and, if you are lucky, you may catch a glimpse of the lone bagpipe player (Chris Armstrong of the Wolfhounds) ringing in the day from atop the hill. If you are VERY lucky, your tent won’t be too close when this happens.
Tickets are now available at roots-fest.com. Advance ticket prices are $20 for a day pass, $35 for a two-day pass and $45 for the entire weekend. Tickets purchased at the gate will be $25, $40 and $50 respectively. Gates open at noon on Friday, May 22. You can also find Roots Fest 2015 on Facebook.
The small army of volunteers it takes to run this event help to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience for everyone, and these largely unsung heroes do it for the sheer love of it.
For quality, convenience, atmosphere and cost, you won’t find a better value.