Fayetteville Roots Fest back to its roots of food, music and fun

Fayetteville Roots Fest back to its roots of food, music and fun

What’s new at this year’s Fayetteville Roots Festival?

“So much, but not so much,” says Bryan Hembree, one of the organizers of the Fayetteville-based music and culinary arts festival. He explains that while the urban festival focused on roots music and exceptional cuisine made from local sources had a “downtown core” for a decade, the pandemic canceled the festival in 2020 and forced it all outdoors in 2021. This year the festival is back at full speed with an impressive musical lineup, a plethora of famous local and national chefs who will take over Fayetteville restaurants and offer up bites around town — as well as workshops at Roots HQ, free concerts at Ozark Natural Foods and Maxine’s and other events all within walking distance of Fayetteville’s Town Center.

“Not to be cheesy, but it’s returning to our ‘roots’ of how the festival has been structured before,” Hembree explains. “It has been three calendar years since we did that, and so a lot of people that might be coming to the fest for the first time [might] go, ‘This is different,’ or whatever. It really is new, but not new.”

Hembree says that the Roots HQ crew are really excited to host music and culinary takeovers at new spaces in the Fayetteville Public Library. Several of the free community events will take place at the library including “Ozarks at Large” concerts with Reggie James Gospel, Dead Horses, Rachel Ammons, Radio Free Honduras, The Brother Brothers and more. There is reserved seating for festival passholders, and the rest is first-come, first-serve. In 641 Deli, there will be a free Taste and Talk series at 9 a.m. Aug. 26, and then a Roots Pop-Up Cafe at 11 a.m. on Aug. 26-27 will have affordable options.

“There’s a beautiful new teaching kitchen right there at the library,” Hembree says of the Friday and Saturday Taste and Talk workshops. “We have the capacity right there at the library for our chefs to do all the prep work they need to do. And so that allows us to center that program there at the library.”

A free songwriting workshop is scheduled for Aug. 26, and a free jam session on Aug. 27 will be at Roots HQ.

Hembree adds that he’s excited that this year’s festival is walkable since all of the events are centered in downtown Fayetteville. “Even if someone’s not coming to the festival, when you go downtown during Roots weekend, it’s like, ‘Wow, something’s happening. There’s a liveliness and an energy downtown,” Hembree enthuses.

Ticketholders will enjoy headliners Joe Purdy, The Woods Brothers, Molly Tuttle & Golden Highway, Peter Rowan Bluegrass Band, Bettye LaVette, Taj Mahal, Melissa Carper and Brady Blade Sr. & The Hallelujah Train. Local talent will include Smokey & the Mirror, Rachel Ammons, Meadow Makers, Dandelion Heart, Dylan Earl and more.

For tickets and more information on the Fayetteville Roots Festival visit fayettevilleroots.org.

The Wood Brothers

The Wood Brothers, one of the headliners of the Fayetteville Roots Festival, define genre.

“They’re dynamic musicians. They do something that is age-old in music which is a trio — bass, drums and guitar — but they do it so well, it just fills up the entire room sonically,” says Fayetteville Roots Festival founder Bryan Hembree. “I’m inspired when I see a three-piece band really working the way they work together.”

The Woods Brothers will take the stage during a Thursday Night VIP Party Aug. 25. Nominated for the Best Americana Album Grammy for their 2018 album “One Drop of Truth,” the trio has continued to push the definition of Americana beyond its roots in country and bluegrass with guitarist Oliver Wood’s extensive background in blues and gospel matched with his brother Chris’ background in jazz. Tying together the brothers’ sound is percussionist and multi-instrumentalist Jano Rix.

“We never really loved that label,” Oliver Wood relates when asked how their sound fits into Americana. He adds that while it was an honor to be nominated within that category alongside Brandi Carlile and John Prine, the label often ignores blues and jazz, which are quintessentially American.

“When I think of Americana, I think of Ray Charles, for instance,” Wood explains. “He was known as a great jazz player, and actually influenced the jazz recordings of his time, and played country music, and obviously, applied gospel to his soul music. But he was one of those guys you couldn’t really label because he just played all the kinds different music and made it his own. And I think it comes down to the artist. His identity is so much more important than the label.”

Likewise the trio combined their different backgrounds to create their most spontaneous and improvised album to date on 2020 with “Kingdom In My Mind,” which came together as they were breaking in their new studio. Before they knew it, they were recording an album.

“It’s so fun to capture any kind of art like that, you know, like the innocence of a kid just making art on a page. There’s something special about that. And so just to be able to capture it. That’s why that studio was so wonderful. And still is to this day, we just are finishing up a new record, which we recorded quite differently, but at the same time, we’re still in that comfortable space that we feel really comfortable and loose and able to experiment. That’s a real luxury and a real beautiful way to capture music,” Oliver says.

He says that they are looking forward to returning to Fayetteville for the Roots Festival.

“It always feels really good there,” he says. “It always feels like the perfect vibe and amount of people and combination of artists and music and food. And I definitely look forward to it when I see it on the schedule.”



Fayetteville Roots Fest

WHEN — Aug. 25-27

WHERE — All over downtown Fayetteville

COST — $25-$399 with many free performances

INFO — fayettevilleroots.org



641.Deli Pop-Up

The Roots Pop-Up Cafe at 641 Deli in the Fayetteville Public Library will feature dishes from Chefs Edgar Rico (Austin, Texas), Esaul Ramos (San Antonio, Texas), Merlin Verrier (Denver), Sue Zemanick (New Orleans), Jessica Keahey (Bentonville), Darwin Beyer (Fayetteville), Kurt Plankenhorn (Siloam Springs), Justus Moll (Northwest Arkansas), Jed Archer Smith (Fayetteville), Jordan Wright (Johnson), Luke Wetzel (Bentonville) and Matt Feyerabend (Siloam Springs). The pop-up cafe will be from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Other restaurant takeovers will take place at Arsaga’s Mill District and Atlas Restaurant. For more Fayetteville Roots Culinary happenings, see fayettevilleroots.org/festival-culinary.



Fayetteville Roots Fest

Music Lineup

Aug. 25

The Wood Brothers, Molly Tuttle & Golden Highway, and Joe Purdy with Smokey & the Mirror and the Honey Dewdrops at Fayetteville Public Library.

Late night music with Fireside Collective at Roots HQ.

Aug. 26

Reggie James Gospel, Tray Wellington, Samantha Crain, Dead Horses at Fayetteville Public Library.

J Wagner and Meadow Makers, Listen Here State at Roots HQ.

Taj Mahal, Bettye LaVette, Peter Rowan Bluegrass Band, Fayetteville Roots Mainstage.

Late night with Sad Daddy at Roots HQ, Maggie Rose with Leyton Robinson at George’s Majestic Lounge, Dylan Earl at Maxine’s.

Bonus — Free Crooked Crow Songwriting workshop with J Wagner from 10 a.m. to noon at Roots HQ.

Aug. 27

Rachel Ammons, Radio Free Honduras, The Honey Dewdrops, Brother Brothers at Fayetteville Public Library.

Shannon Wurst and Sons of Otis Malone at Roots HQ.

North Mississippi Allstars, Brady Blade Sr. & The Hallelujah Train and Melissa Carper at Fayetteville Roots Mainstage.

Late night with Missy Raines and Allegheny at Roots HQ, Arlo McKinley with Logan Halsted at George’s Majestic Lounge, Bonnie Montgomery at Maxine’s.

Roots HQ Jam Workshop, 10 a.m. to noon. Free.

Bonus: A Tribute to Dolly Parton featuring The Phlegms, McCormick Carlson & Bill Smylie (Monk is King), Dana Idlet, Dylan Earl, Bonnie Montgomery, Opal Agafia, Cindy Woolf, Tara Norton, Dick Darden, Eryn Brothers and who knows who else starts at noon Aug. 28

For exact times of all Fayetteville Roots Festival events and free community programming, check out fayettevilleroots2022.sched.com.



Fayetteville Roots

Late Night Shows

• Fireside Collective, 11 p.m. Aug. 25 at Roots HQ, 1 E. Mountain St.

• Maggie Rose with Leyton Robinson, 9:30 p.m. Aug. 26 ($22 and up) at George’s Majestic Lounge, 519 W. Dickson St.

• Dylan Earl, 10 p.m. Aug. 26, Maxine’s Taproom, 1 N. Block Ave.

• Sad Daddy, 11 p.m. Aug. 26, Roots HQ.

• Arlo McKinley and Logan Halsted, 9 p.m. Aug. 27 ($22 and up), George’s Majestic Lounge.

• Bonnie Montgomery, 10 p.m. Aug. 27, Maxine’s Taproom.

BONUS — Front porch session with Dandelion Heart from noon to 2 p.m. Aug. 27 at Ozark Natural Foods, 380 N. College Ave., Fayetteville. Food and show free. Chefs Heather Artripe, Dani Kvern, and Justus Ryan Moll will be preparing three food and adult beverage pairings for the event. This is the kick-off for other Front Porch sessions to come. See onf.coop for upcoming shows.

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