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River City Roots Festival will be back this year
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River City Roots Festival will be back this year

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River City Roots Festival (copy)

Rain Smith dances to Cascade Crescendo during their performance on the stage on Main Street in downtown Missoula during the 2019 River City Roots Festival.

One of Missoula’s biggest summer events, the River City Roots Festival, will be back this year.

Local and national touring acts will be playing Friday-Saturday, Aug. 27-28, according to a news release sent on Wednesday by the Downtown Missoula Partnership. It’s too early for information on the lineup.

“The staff and committee had many lengthy discussions over the course of the winter on how we could bring this event back to the heart of Missoula, even if it had to be in a modified format,” committee chair Ellen Buchanan said in the release. “It became clear about a month ago that with COVID cases declining and vaccination numbers increasing, by the end of August we could make Roots Fest happen.”

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The core features will be just like pre-pandemic times — bands playing on a stage on Main Street along with food vendors, the art show, and a 4-mile run on the Clark Fork River put on by Run Wild Missoula.

Last year, the festival was canceled due to COVID, as it typically draws thousands of people and returning University of Montana students into the streets for food, music and dancing.

“Hosting this event means we are well on our way back to life in the streets of downtown Missoula,” said Linda McCarthy, executive director of the Downtown Missoula Partnership.

The Missoula Downtown Association is also bringing back two weekly features of Missoula summer to Caras Park.

Out to Lunch and Downtown ToNight are starting on June 2-3. They will include a “full line-up” of local food vendors and live music, with more solo acts or duos in the first month, then transitioning to larger bands in July and August, according to the release. Go to for more information.

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