Photo by Kevin Wierzbicki
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Photo by Kevin Wierzbicki
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Photo by Kevin Wierzbicki
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Photo by Kevin Wierzbicki
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Photo by Kevin Wierzbicki
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Photo by Kevin Wierzbicki
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“It’s kind of hard to un-mix blues and BBQ.” That comment came from John Popper of Blues Traveler as he addressed the crowd about half way through the band’s set on Sun. Oct. 2, the third and final day of the Roots N Blues N BBQ Festival at Stephens Lake Park in Columbia, Missouri. The crowd, already having devoured countless pounds of pulled pork, beef brisket and BBQ ribs over the course of the day, roared back in appreciative agreement. After all, where else could you kick back and enjoy bluesy sets from Chump Change, Paul Thorn and Music Maker Blues Revue while munching on a BBQ pork sandwich that’s served on a donut?

The final day of the Roots N Blues N BBQ festival offered fun everywhere you looked, as good music was played on two large stages while dozens of booths in-between offered all kinds of food and drink, souvenir T-shirts and band merchandise, locally-made craft items and more. There were some surprises on stage and off too, including one that came from the aforementioned Popper.

After opening their set with “Things Are Looking Up,” Blues Traveler got in the groove with a couple of other songs and then Popper surprised the audience by calling G. Love onto the stage where the singer joined the band for a rowdy take on Sublime’s “What I Got.” The song turned in part into an audience sing-along but also included a hot, face-to-face harmonica battle between Popper and Love. Love stayed just for the one song; he had his own set to play on the other stage and would soon be wowing his fans with songs like the funky talking blues of “Back to Boston.” Blues Traveler, meanwhile, never broke stride as “What I Got” evolved into a long jam that eventually morphed into the band’s big hit “Run-Around.”

Another surprise moment came from all three members of The Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band. After playing a set that included oldies like 2006’s “Easy Come, Easy Go,” (on which Peyton played slide on a three-string cigar box guitar) and newer cuts like “Hell Naw” from the band’s latest effort So Delicious!, Peyton, “Washboard” Breezy Peyton and Maxwell Senteney all headed to the merchandise tent where they met fans, signed CDs, posters and T-shirts and graciously posed for photos with all comers.

All the above is typical of what normally goes on at the Roots N Blues N BBQ Festival; imagine three days of similar fun with Jason Isbell, the Avett Brothers, Grace Potter, Ben Folds, Sam Bush, the Mavericks, St. Paul & the Broken Bones, the Blind Boys of Alabama and a dozen or so more. Better yet, don’t just imagine it; the 11th edition of the festival will be happening in Columbia in early autumn of 2017.

Information on the 2017 Roots N Blues N BBQ Festival will be posted here.

The folks in Columbia love festivals; find information on upcoming events here.