The Best Bands You Never Heard Of ...

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Columbia , live music , music
Discovering Columbia’s Roots N Blues N BBQ Festival
Author: John Drake Robinson
If Mark Twain ever heard Jimmy Carter, Jimmy’s music just might inspire young Sam Clemens to sneak back into church.

Jimmy Carter is a founding member of the Blind Boys of Alabama, the world-renowned gospel group that will rock the Roots N Blues N BBQ Festival Sept. 30-Oct. 2 at Columbia’s Stephens Lake Park.


Mark Twain would love the Blind Boys of Alabama. But he’d also warn not to blather about their music.


“...one cannot tell about music so that another person can get the feeling of it,” Twain said.


You don’t have to wait to sample the flavors of this year’s all-star lineup. The festival website serves up an earful from each of the more than two dozen performing acts.


Don’t fret if you’re unfamiliar with some of these songmakers. That’s part of the fun of this festival. It offers the same thing most people seek when vacationing: discovering new treasures.


Year after year, this event is a carnival of discovery.


Event organizers sometimes explain the event as featuring “the best bands you’ve never heard of.”


The musicians, many with Grammys under their belt, are world class.


“If you want to see Missouri at her best, see her in October." Mark Twain said that, too.

The organizers of the Roots N Blues N BBQ Festival probably weren't channeling Twain when they picked this year's festival date, but they know what Twain knows. And even though there are 1.3 billion great events in Missouri during October, mark September 30-October 2 on your calendar.


Columbia’s Roots N Blues N BBQ Festival is that good.


Rave reviews come from past performers themselves, best described by Taj Mahal: “This show is among the best in the country ... any country.”


Getting Around

CoMo Connect city buses will run for free all festival weekend. Free school bus shuttles will loop from the downtown parking garages to Stephens Lake Park.


For ADA requests, contact the accessibility coordinator via the website. Golf cart shuttles will operate within the grounds and ADA accessible porta potties will be available.


There will be plenty of food vendors, too. But in the end, it's all about the music.


So bring your blanket and/or lawn chair, settle in and tune your ear to familiar names like the Avett Brothers, Grace Potter and Jason Isbell. But remember, you just might discover your next favorite band.


If you keep referring to your program to remember performers’ names, don’t worry. Sam Clemens didn't know any of these folks, either.


But some day, you'll tell everybody, “Yep, I was there.”