My favorite festival, Rhythm and Roots, in Charlestown, RI, has it all: great acts, friendly crowds, super dance tent, interesting vendors and tasty, one-of-a-kind foods, all at a manageable size and reasonable price. Even the weather’s reliable. This year Bruce Hornsby and the Noisemakes (we had to travel to North Carolina to see them last Christmas Jam), Lucinda Williams, the David Grisman Sextet, Dave & Phil Alvin and one of my favorite undersung-heros, Matt Andersen (he will be seriously famous soon), join nearly 40 other acts for blues, country and Cajun revelry.
The Main Stage lineup speaks for itself, but R&R also boasts one of the all-time dance tents (boogie well into the wee hours), the Roots Stage, where top
performers play in an intimate, low-key setting, often joined by other headliners, plus a whole kids-of-all-ages area, with friendly acts interact with the audience from the Family Stage, adjacent to challenging, low-tech activities (like juggling) designed to engage kids of all ages.
Both food and merchandise vendors offer unusual items at reasonable prices, and you don’t have to sift through the usual ocean of fast-food/fast buck items we normally see at festivals, a blessing for this festival warrior. All these riches can be found in a site that’s walkable in a few minutes.
Here’s the lineup, September 2-4: Bruce Hornsby & the Noisemakers, Lucinda Williams, Taj Mahal Trio, The David Grisman Sextet, Dave Alvin & Phil Alvin w/ the Guilty Ones, Donna the Buffalo, Orchestre Royal, w/ Steve Riley, Roddie Romero, Kevin Wimmer, Eric Adcock and others, Matt Andersen & the Bona Fide, The Knickerbocker All Stars, Sarah Potenza, Nathan & the Zydeco Cha-Chas, Duke Robillard, Uncle Earl Reunion, Dustbowl Revival, Roomful of Blues, The Revelers, HONEYHONEY, The Honeycutters, Los Texmaniacs, Jim Kweskin & Geoff Muldaur , Cedryl Ballou & the Zydeco Trendsetters, Just Us Western Swing All Stars, Waylon Thibodeaux, Hat Fitz & Cara, Willie J Laws, Ed Poullard & Preston Frank, Johnny Nicholas, The Huntress & the Holder of Hands, David Greely, The Suitcase Junket, Guthrie Brown & the Family Tree, Jesse Lege, The Quiet Life, Kelsey Waldon, Occidental Gypsy, Longshot Voodoo, Magnolia, Planet Zydeco