The Ultimate Locals Guide to Attending Roots N Blues

The Ultimate Locals Guide to Attending Roots N Blues

Uncovering the Vibrant Heart of British Columbia’s Music Scene

As a lifelong resident of British Columbia, I’ve been no stranger to the province’s rich and diverse music landscape. From the indie rock havens of Vancouver to the folk-fueled communities of the interior, there’s a pulsing rhythm that courses through the veins of this rugged and beautiful land. But when it comes to capturing the true essence of British Columbia’s musical spirit, there’s one event that truly stands out – the Roots N Blues festival.

Discovering the Roots N Blues Festival

It all started one lazy summer afternoon when I was scrolling through my social media feed, as one does these days. Suddenly, a post from a friend caught my eye – they were raving about an incredible music festival they had just attended in the quaint town of Merritt, located just a few hours’ drive from my home in Vancouver. “Roots N Blues,” the caption read, “the best darn festival you’ve never heard of.”

Intrigued, I decided to do a little digging. What I uncovered was a hidden gem that had been quietly captivating music lovers from across the province (and beyond) for over a decade. Hosted annually in early September, Roots N Blues is a celebration of all things Americana, from soulful blues and country twang to bluegrass and folk-infused roots music.

The more I learned about the festival, the more I knew I had to experience it for myself. So, the following year, I packed up my camping gear, rounded up a few like-minded friends, and headed out on the open road to Merritt. Little did I know that this trip would mark the beginning of an annual pilgrimage that would soon become one of the highlights of my year.

Immersing Yourself in the Roots N Blues Experience

As we approached the festival grounds, the anticipation was palpable. The winding roads gave way to rolling hills dotted with towering pines, and the air was alive with the sound of distant music and laughter. Pulling into the parking lot, we could already feel the energy of the event pulsing through the air.

After quickly setting up our campsite, we made our way towards the main stage, weaving through the throngs of festival-goers. The scene was nothing short of captivating – families sprawled out on blankets, groups of friends gathered around picnic tables, and couples swaying to the rhythm of the music. It was a mosaic of humanity, all united by their love for the timeless sounds of Americana.

As the first act took the stage, I felt a surge of excitement coursing through my veins. The soulful vocals and intricate guitar work had me instantly enthralled, and before long, I found myself tapping my feet and singing along to the familiar melodies. It was in that moment that I truly understood the magic of Roots N Blues – the way it has the power to transport you, to make you feel alive and connected to something bigger than yourself.

Exploring the Diverse Musical Offerings

One of the things that sets Roots N Blues apart is the sheer breadth and depth of its musical programming. Over the course of the three-day festival, you’ll find yourself immersed in a veritable smorgasbord of genres and styles, each one more captivating than the last.

For the blues aficionados, there are plenty of opportunities to soak in the rich, soulful sounds of artists like Ruthie Foster and Ike Stubblefield. Those with a penchant for country will delight in the twangy, heartfelt performances of acts like Corb Lund and Whitney Rose. And for the true roots music enthusiasts, there’s a treasure trove of bluegrass, folk, and Americana delights, from the high-energy bluegrass of The Dead South to the introspective folk of Amythyst Kiah.

But the real beauty of Roots N Blues lies in the way these genres seamlessly blend and intertwine, creating a truly unique and immersive musical experience. It’s not uncommon to find yourself bouncing between stages, soaking in the soulful sounds of a blues singer one moment and the twangy twists of a country crooner the next.

Savoring the Culinary Delights

Of course, no music festival experience would be complete without an equally impressive array of culinary offerings. And Roots N Blues delivers in spades when it comes to satisfying the taste buds of its attendees.

The festival grounds are dotted with an impressive selection of food vendors, each one offering a tantalizing array of locally-sourced and artisanal fare. From the smoky, melt-in-your-mouth barbecue of the Merritt-based Kingfisher Meats to the delectable homemade pies of the Nicola Valley Pie Company, there’s something to please every palate.

But the real showstopper, in my opinion, is the annual Roots N Blues BBQ competition. Held on the Friday night of the festival, this fiercely competitive event brings together the finest pit masters from across the province, all vying for the coveted title of “Best in Show.” The aroma of slow-smoked meats and sizzling sauces wafts through the air, drawing in hungry festival-goers who eagerly await the chance to sample these culinary masterpieces.

As I wander through the bustling food court, my senses are assaulted by the tantalizing flavors and aromas. It’s a true feast for the senses, and the perfect complement to the musical delights unfolding on the stages around me.

Embracing the Vibrant Community

One of the things that truly sets Roots N Blues apart is the sense of community that permeates every aspect of the festival. From the moment you step onto the grounds, you can feel the warmth and camaraderie of the attendees, all united by their love for the music and the shared experience of being in this magical place.

The festival-goers themselves are a diverse and eclectic bunch, hailing from all corners of the province (and beyond). You’ll find families with young children, groups of college students, and seasoned festival veterans, all coming together to celebrate the music they love. And what’s remarkable is the way they seamlessly integrate, sharing in each other’s joy and enthusiasm.

But it’s not just the attendees who contribute to this vibrant community – the festival organizers and volunteers are equally instrumental in cultivating this sense of belonging. From the friendly staff who greet you at the entrance to the helpful volunteers who guide you around the grounds, there’s a palpable sense of pride and dedication that permeates every aspect of the event.

And let’s not forget the local businesses and artisans who set up shop at the festival, offering a tantalizing array of locally-sourced goods and handcrafted wares. These vendors are not just here to make a quick buck – they’re an integral part of the Roots N Blues community, sharing their passions and stories with the festival-goers.

Embracing the Great Outdoors

One of the things that truly sets Roots N Blues apart from other music festivals is its idyllic setting. Nestled in the heart of the Nicola Valley, the festival grounds are surrounded by the breathtaking natural beauty of British Columbia’s interior.

As you wander through the festival, you’ll be treated to stunning vistas of towering mountains and rolling hills, with the majestic Nicola River winding its way through the landscape. It’s a truly magical setting that perfectly complements the rootsy, earthy vibe of the music.

But the festival-goers don’t just passively admire the scenery – they actively embrace it. Throughout the weekend, you’ll find people exploring the nearby hiking trails, cooling off in the refreshing waters of the Nicola, and even taking part in outdoor activities like disc golf and slack-lining.

And let’s not forget the camping experience itself, which is an essential part of the Roots N Blues adventure. As you lie in your tent, lulled to sleep by the distant sounds of the festival, you can’t help but feel a deep connection to the land around you. It’s a truly immersive experience that allows you to fully unwind and disconnect from the stresses of everyday life.

Cultivating Lasting Memories

As the sun sets on another incredible edition of Roots N Blues, I can’t help but feel a sense of wistfulness. The weekend has flown by in a blur of music, laughter, and cherished moments, and I know that I’ll be counting down the days until the next festival rolls around.

But the beauty of Roots N Blues is that it’s not just a fleeting event – it’s a shared experience that leaves an indelible mark on all who attend. The memories we create here, the connections we forge, and the joy we find in the music – these are the things that stay with us long after the last note has faded.

I think back to the friends I’ve made over the years, the conversations I’ve had with complete strangers who have become kindred spirits, and the artists whose performances have left an indelible impression on my soul. It’s these moments that make Roots N Blues so much more than just a music festival – it’s a celebration of community, a testament to the power of music to bring people together, and a reminder of the simple pleasures that make life truly rich and fulfilling.

So, if you’re looking for a truly authentic and unforgettable music experience, I encourage you to pack your bags and head to Merritt for the Roots N Blues festival. Trust me, it’s a journey you won’t soon forget.

Visit the Roots N Blues festival website to plan your trip!