Rhythm & Roots back for the 23rd year


The highly anticipated 23rd Rhythm & Roots Music, Dance & Food Festival resumes September 3-5 at Ninigret Park in Charlestown with much-loved headliners, a band jam extravaganza, festival fan favorites and new voices that reflect the ever-changing nature of roots music.

Headliners – Rhiannon Giddens & Francesco Turrisi, John Hiatt and Uprooted – will join Richard Thompson, Trigger Hippy, the Pine Leaf Boys and many more spanning a wide range of musical styles – Cajun, R&B, Delta blues, zydeco, soul, country, rock and gospel among them.

About 80% of the artists who were scheduled for last year’s festival, before it was canceled, are back. Chuck Wentworth, whose family-owned Lagniappe Productions produces the Labor Day weekend festival, said fans “kept the vibe alive” last year and are eager to get their musical fix of three. days. The community of music lovers, dancers, campers, food vendors, artisans and hundreds of volunteers make Rhythm & Roots a reunion every year – one that is long overdue.

“This is the first time in 40 years that we have faced a situation like this, and it posed a lot of hardship for the festival, emotionally and financially, but we got through it,” said Wentworth. “We are back with a renewed spirit this year and we are looking forward to having a fantastic festival. “

Here’s a look at what’s in store.


The diversity of styles is an attraction for music lovers who return each year. This time around, a Friday night jam band will feature fan favorites Donna The Buffalo, Keller Williams, who is a solo multi-instrumentalist jam group Will Evans & Rising Tide (from Mystic, Connecticut) and completed by Uprooted, with Michael Glabicki of Rusted Root. “They all have a very different style, but they all have the same jam group vibe,” Wentworth said. Uprooted will perform Rusted Root’s multicultural, multi-platinum album “When I Woke” in its entirety, with more percussion, female vocals and new interpretations.


Saturday’s headliner, prolific songwriter John Hiatt, will bring his powerful storytelling, rocky voice and expert guitar and piano playing to the festival. The influential singer-songwriter has inspired recordings by musicians as diverse as Iggy Pop and Rosanne Cash. Hiatt’s mix of rock, blues and American music will complement Trigger Hippy’s mix of styles and energy. Wentworth predicts the group will be a fan favorite this year.

Also on Saturday, the 2020 Grammy Award-winning Ranky Tanky will take roots music to another level by showcasing Coastal South Carolina’s Gullah culture and its deep connections to West and Central Africa. The Revelers base their sound on swamp pop, Cajun, Zydeco, country and blues from southwest Louisiana.


On the last day of the festival, the headliner is famous banjo and violin player Rhiannon Giddens, formerly of the beloved Carolina Chocolate Drops, who collaborates with Francisco Turrisi, who brings Arabic influences to Giddens’ classical voice. . Both students of early music, they combine Mediterranean music and music from the African diaspora in the Americas. Giddens has won numerous awards and accolades and is featured in Ken Burns’ ‘Country Music’ series, which aired on PBS in 2019.

Richard Thompson, the British folk hero whose career spans five decades, is another influential artist who should draw a large crowd for his songs, which can alternate between dark and lyrical or edgy and energetic. It’s hard to beat this Los Angeles Times description: “best rock songwriter after Dylan and best electric guitarist since Hendrix”. The festival will end with an evening of swamp rock by Louisiana supergroup The New Orleans Suspects.

The festival features dozens of artists, so check out the full lineup of musicians and listen to a Rhythm & Roots playlist on Spotify.

Festival-goers have a choice of three stages every three days. If you’re serious about dancing, or just want to try it out, The Dance Tent is one of the festival’s most popular stages, with two-step and waltz enthusiasts dancing non-stop for hours on end each day. day. The Pine Leaf Boys promise to be another big hit. According to Rolling Stone magazine, their mix of Cajun and rock has been described as “the next best thing to a Saturday night dance in Lafayette”.

The musicians were probably missed as much at the festival as the fans. Wentworth says: “It’s not just a life, it’s a calling, it’s what musicians live for, is to play music and feed on energy and whatever. comes from an audience, and they must have gone 15 months without it. “

The Rhythm & Roots experience will largely remain the same this year. As usual, the food from the local vendors is a highlight. Abita beer will be served with new wine offerings from Gooseneck Vineyards of Wickford. Artisans will be back to sell their wares, campers are welcome, and Ninigret Park offers a relaxing place to hike, bike or swim, depending on your mood.

However, national and local COVID regulations will change some aspects of the festival. All participants entering campgrounds and / or festival grounds will be required to show proof of vaccination or a negative COVID test result taken within 72 hours. Due to a rapid increase in COVID infections and the increase of the Delta variant among unvaccinated populations, the activities of the youth music camp and the family tent are closed. These measures will be taken to protect our customers, staff, musicians, volunteers and salespeople. Tickets are in high demand, but capacity limits are likely, so Wentworth is urging fans to buy tickets now.

This is the 41st year in the music business for Wentworth. It all started in 1981 with the Cajun and Bluegrass Festival in Escoheag, followed by the birth in 1998 of Rhythm & Roots, which has never ceased since under the direction of the Wentworth family, which includes Chuck, his wife Deb, their three children and nine grandchildren.

Doors open at 4 p.m. on Friday and at noon on Saturday and Sunday, with performances starting an hour after opening until 11 p.m. Prices range from $ 49 for Friday night to $ 250 for three-day camping passes with full festival access. To purchase tickets, learn more about the performers, or get answers about parking, camping, or any other issues, visit www.rhythmandroots.com, Facebook page or call 401.783.3926.


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