Rhythm & Roots Festival: You Asked For It, You Got Taj Mahal, Steve Earle

Rhythm & Roots Festival: You Asked For It, You Got Taj Mahal, Steve Earle


CHARLESTOWN, R.I. – Aug. 8, 2018 – PRLog — Rhythm & Roots asked, and music lovers answered. In a survey last year the Taj Mahal Trio was the most-requested artist and Steve Earle & the Dukes was No. 2. So that’s exactly who will be headlining the 21st annual music and dance festival, which transforms Charlestown’s Ninigret Park into a three-day, family-friendly party from Aug. 31 to Sept. 2.

Calling this year the “People’s Choice” festival, producer Chuck Wentworth says Taj Mahal, a legendary bluesman and Rhythm & Roots fan favorite, has performed in Charlestown three or four times. “I don’t think he’s ever had a bad show that I know of. He delivers every time.” Earle is performing as part of his 30th anniversary celebration of Copperhead Road, his breakthrough bluegrass-meets-metal album. His band will also pay homage to Earle’s love of outlaw country music.

Popular requests also included the Texas Western swing and country favorite, Asleep at the Wheel, and Boulder, Colo.-based Leftover Salmon, one of the original jam bands that play what they describe as a “poly-ethnic, Cajun slamgrass.”

“Having these favorites in there is going to make for a really good show,” Wentworth says.

About 5,000 visitors per day, from as far as the Virgin Islands, California and Louisiana, are expected to take in the laid-back groove that has made the festival an annual reunion of sorts for families and friends who appreciate all forms of roots music: blues, swing, bluegrass, zydeco, Cajun and Americana. Performances are held every day from 1 p.m. to midnight on four stages. Buy tickets at rhythmandroots.com or call 401.783.3926.

While popular acts on the festival circuit have been requested this year, “We haven’t abandoned the concept of bringing in new music,” Wentworth says, noting that he is introducing fans to the “fantastic” 18-year-old duo from St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador, Nick Earle and Joe Coffin, discovered on one of his music trips to Canada.

Also new to Rhythm & Roots this year: Big Sam’s Funky Nation, a New Orleans blend of funk, jazz, rock and hip-hop; Larry Campbell,formerly with Levon Helm and the Midnight Ramblers, and Teresa Williams, a married couple who will perform Delta blues, folk and Americana music; bluegrass quartet Hot Rize, is celebrating a milestone and will play with the country quartet Red Knuckles and the Trailblazers. “I couldn’t resist bringing them in here for their 40thanniversary,” Wentworth says.

This year’s lineup may represent the widest spectrum of roots music yet. Rhythm & Roots always offers a heavy dose of Louisiana music (Steve Riley and the Mamou Playboys, Cedryl Ballou & the Zydeco Trendsetters, Bonerama, CJ Chenier & the Red Hot Louisiana Band to name a few),and this year offers a sampling of Americana music(Girls, Guns and Glory and Session Americana, both from the Boston area) blues(Taj Mahal Trio and Earle and Coffin), bluegrass (Hot Rize), Tex-Mex (Los Texmaniacs) and swing (Asleep at the Wheel).

Music lovers can set up the blankets and chairs and relax at the main RHYTHM STAGE, which features at least seven performances a day, or check out daily music workshops followed by extended performances and jams at the ROOTS STAGE. The DANCE STAGE, with its covered, 4,400-square-foot wooden floor, attracts dancers from 40-plus states and three Canadian provinces. The FAMILY STAGE features music, dance, storytelling, crafts and nighttime movies for kids of all ages.

Other attractions of Rhythm & Roots:

Camp Out – Ninigret allows camping only during Rhythm & Roots, and about 1,500 people stay for the entire weekend. Last year, Rhythm & Roots added an extra night of camping on Thursday and a new upscale offer of “glamping” to celebrate its 20th anniversary. Those additions will continue. “Glampers” arrive at the festival to find a tent already set up and outfitted with four cots, a lantern, table and other amenities. Quiet camping spots are available as well.

Park Close to the Entrance –  If you’re not camping and want fewer steps between you and the music, premier day parking is for you. The 100 spots close to the front gate will be can be purchased for $20 per day, or $50 for all three days. Spaces are limited. To reserve a spot purchase parking passes online at rhythmandroots.com/tickets/.

Eat and Drink – Choose from barbecue ribs, Cajun/Creole specialties, chowder and clam cakes, gyros, Middle Eastern food and desserts, along with craft beers, wine, frozen lemonade and other beverages. Fan favorite Chili Brothers will attend again this year, and a new vendor, Gotta Q Smokehouse and BBQ of Cumberland, RI, has won the Motif award for best BBQ food truck two years in a row.

Join the Rhythm & Roots Youth Music Camp – It’s free.Children can learn to play Cajun fiddle, accordion, guitar, bass and mandolin from talented artists, including director and expert fiddler Pam Weeks. No festival ticket is needed for the camp, which ends with a graduation gig in the DANCE STAGE Sunday at 2 p.m.

Play With Your Kids – Story-telling by the well known Len Cabral, Marc Levitt and Thawn Harris parades, games, comedians, hula hooping, and one act every day by the Contemporary Theater Company in Wakefield can be found at the FAMILY STAGE.

Buy Tickets Today – Buying before August 24th saves $15 per day. Once tickets are in hand, it’s quicker and more efficient to get in to the event than to buy at the gate. Visit rhythmandroots.com or call 401.783.3926. Children 12 years and under are free, and 13- to 19-year-olds get in for half price. “The basis of it all is it’s a good family festival, and we try to keep that at the forefront,” Wentworth says.

Here’s the artist lineup: http://rhythmandroots.com/artist-lineup/

Rhythm & Roots Festival

Rhythm & Roots Festival






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Great news!! Rhythm & Roots Music, Dance and Food Festival

is happening on September 3, 4 and 5, 2021 

at Ninigret Park in Charlestown RI


After a long dry year and a half without live music and festivals, we know you are as excited as we are to gather and celebrate, so make sure you’re not left out. Due to the probable state and local limited capacity mandates, tickets will be in short supply this year, so be sure to reserve your spot early, as our allotment of available tickets is limited and will most likely sell out.

So, this brings up the big question — how do we proceed to plan (and attend) a festival safely around the limitations necessitated by the Covid virus? For starters, we are adhering to the rules and regulations set forth by the State of Rhode Island for large events. These mandate that there will be a limited amount of attendees allowed on site, and that we follow guidelines for mask wearing, social distancing, hand washing and all of the other CDC protocols.

These rules are changing and loosening up every couple of weeks, and we are anticipating that the situation will be much more advantageous for the festival by the end of the summer. In our favor is our new governor, Daniel McKee, is an advocate of tourism and opening up the parameters for large events and festivals in the state. Whatever occurs though, our main concern will be the health and safety of all of our festival patrons. Please be assured that we will do whatever is necessary to keep everyone safe and secure.

Tickets go on sale May 12 at 10:00 am, so be sure to get yours ASAP! You don’t want to miss out, but tickets will be limited, and if you snooze, you may lose.Thanks!  Stay safe, get vaccinated and we hope to see you on Labor Day Weekend! “Keep the Vibe Alive In 2021.

For Immediate Release:
Interviews Contact: Ginny Shea  T: 401.942.8025 ginny@mixedmediapromo.com 
23rd Annual Rhythm & Roots Festival
Ninigret Park, Charlestown, RI
September 3,4,5, 2021
Labor Day Weekend

R & R is Happening!
Tickets on sale 10 a.m. May 12th
23rd Rhythm & Roots Festival Features
Rhiannon Giddens & Francesco TurrisiJohn Hiatt,
Uprooted featuring Michael Glabicki of Rusted Root
Headliners Join Richard ThompsonDonna The Buffalo, and more
Tickets on Sale May 12 for Labor Day Weekend Festival, Set for Sept. 3-5

CHARLESTOWN, R.I. –– Lagniappe Productions is thrilled to announce that the 23rd Rhythm & Roots Music, Dance, and Food Festival will resume Sept. 3-5 at Ninigret Park with many of the well-loved musicians who agreed to play last year.

“Fans have been ‘keeping the vibe alive’ since the festival was canceled in 2020,” said Chuck Wentworth, whose family-run Lagniappe Productions puts the festival together every year. “Live music eases our minds in troubled times. After the year we’ve just had, 2021 will be a real celebration – but a safe one.”

Rhode Island health and safety mandates require smaller crowds than in the past, so a limited number of tickets will go on sale at 10 a.m. on May 12 at rhythmandroots.com. The 2021 festival will spotlight Uprooted featuring Michael Glabicki of Rusted Root on Friday, Sept. 3, John Hiatt on Saturday, Sept. 4, and Rhiannon Giddens and Francesco Turrisi on Sunday, Sept. 5.

The Labor Day weekend festival brings together music fans, dancers, campers, and families for dozens of performances, food of every variety, artisans’ handmade wares, and a reunion-like vibe that’s been described as “chill but lively at the same time.”

Gates open at 4 p.m. Friday and noon on Saturday and Sunday, with performances starting one hour after opening through 11 p.m. Prices range from $49 for Friday night to $250 for three-day camping passes with full festival access. For the lineup, which is still evolving, and to buy tickets, visit rhythmandroots.com or call 401.783.3926.

Producer Chuck Wentworth, who is marking his 41st year in the music business, has signed most of the musicians who had planned to perform in 2020.

The acclaimed songwriter and guitarist Richard Thompson, who will perform Sunday, has influenced musicians as varied as Robert Plant, Don Henley, and David Byrne during his 50 years in the business. Traditionalists will enjoy Dirk Powell’s Appalachian-style banjo and fiddle, which earned him four Grammy awards. Performances are planned for both Saturday and Sunday. Fan favorites The Pine Leaf BoysDonna the Buffalo,and The Revelers among many others, will also return.

Wentworth says a new generation of fans will especially enjoy Uprooted as well as guitarist and songwriter Keller Williams’ bluegrass/folk/reggae/electronica blend of acoustic dance music.

“I’m seeing more and more young people involved in the music scene,” Wentworth says. “The younger generation of musicians is just amazing, and they’re building on the musical traditions that came before them and adding this whole modern spin on it.”

Rhythm & Roots has always been about a blend of traditional and new, young and old, family reunions and hangouts with new friends. This mixture is based on a cultural appreciation seeded in Wentworth during multiple annual trips to Louisiana starting in the mid-1980s.

“I discovered that down there there’s an entire culture unto itself that’s unique, and that’s when I discovered it wasn’t just a music culture, it included music, dance, and family all rolled into one. I took all of that experience and tried to bring that into the festival.”

Wentworth says Friday’s headliner, Uprooted, will perform their multi-platinum album When I Woke in its entirety at Rhythm & Roots. Frontman Michael Glabicki has taken Rusted Root’s music, reinvented it, and added more percussion, female vocals, and new material. The previous band is best known for the jubilant, “Send Me On My Way,” featured in Ice Age and a dozen other films and TV shows.

Uprooted featuring Michael Glabicki of Rusted Root

John Hiatt, the prolific and influential guitarist, and piano player has earned nine Grammy nominations and has been writing songs professionally since he was 18. His country, rock, blues, and Americana music, set for Saturday night, has been recorded by artists as diverse as Iggy Pop and Rosanne Cash.

Rhiannon Giddens, well-loved by Rhythm & Roots fans for her work with the Carolina Chocolate Drops, is performing Sunday with Italian multi-instrumentalist Francesco Turrisi, who brings African and Arabic influences to Gidden’s classically trained voice and skilled banjo and fiddle playing. The pair just released They’re Calling Me Home, an album recorded in six days during the pandemic lockdown in Dublin that explores the music of their native and adoptive countries.

Straightforward traditional music, traditional-with-a-twist, or something entirely new – all will be showcased during the Labor Day weekend festival. Wentworth, who brings it all together each year with the help of hundreds of volunteers, is guided by his passion and a bit of manipulation.

He hopes to keep families coming so the children will be exposed to different kinds of music. The man who plays the blues to settle his grandson for a nap, says, “Even if they’re not consciously listening to it, it still filters in.”

To learn about the numerous additional bands signed for Rhythm & Roots, go to rhythmandroots.com.

Richard Thompson


Veronica Lewis

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