List of U.S. Roots Music Festivals 2016

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JD McPherson at fayettevilleroots festival 2015 – photo Jim Jacob

FOR INFO ON 2017 FESTIVAL DATES – CLICK HERE

Updated and Expanded!!

Over 130 Festivals Included

I have been planning annual odysseys to the USA from Australia for a few years now, with the major aim of attending as many roots music events as I can.

This planning has however proven to be painstaking as I have never found a single website that provides an up-to-date and comprehensive list of music festivals that fit into my preferred categories – alt. country, folk, Americana, blues, rock, folk and soul.  For quite a while I have been compiling my own list.

Now this has involved quite a deal of work and I have researched, refined and improved it over the past years.  The current version you see below contains around ninety different events, but is by no means comprehensive I am sure.  It does not include music cruises (yet) and I’m sure there are many events still missing.

One thing that has surprised me is the churn rate from one year to the next.  I can recall about twenty festivals that have disappeared from the landscape over the past two list iterations.  It must be a tough business if there are so many festivals that have fallen away.  If there is a moral to this, it is this – if there is a festival in your backyard, don’t assume it is going to be there forever!  There are a few 2015 events included with 2016 dates not announced yet, mainly at the end of calendar 2016.

Interestingly, Summerfest bills itself as the biggest festival of them all.

Anyways, here is my attempt at a list of roots music festivals in 2016.  Every festival has a hyperlink to the relevant website.

If you have any comments, corrections, observations, I would be very happy to hear from you.

Festival City 2016 dates
The Music Fest Steamboat CO 4-9 Jan
Sunshine Music & Blues St Petersburg FL 16-Jan
Sunshine Music & Blues Boca Raton FL 17-Jan
Folk Alliance International Kansas City MO 17-21 Feb
Wintergrass Music Bellevue WA 25-28 Feb
Back Porch Northampton MA 25-28 Feb
South By Southwest (SXSW) Austin TX 11-20 Mar
Suwanee Springfest Live Oak FL 17-20 Mar
Savannah Music Savannah GA 24 Mar – 9 Apr
Paluxy River Spring Bluegrass Glen Rose TX 31 Mar – 2 Apr
Big Ears Knoxville TN 31 Mar – 2 Apr
French Quarter New Orleans LA 7-10 Apr
Rhythm & Blooms Knoxville TN 8-10 Apr
Baton Rouge Blues Baton Rouge 9-10 Apr
Wanee Music Live Oak FL 14-16 Apr
Old Settler’s Driftwood TX 14-17 Apr
Tortuga Music Fort Lauderdale FL 15-17 Apr
Coachella Indio CA 15-24 Apr
Juke Joint Clarksdale MS 16-Apr
Southern Ground Charleston SC 16-17 Apr
Festival International de Louisiane Lafayette LA 20-24 Apr
Sweetwater 420 Atlanta GA 22-24 Apr
Jazz and Heritage New Orleans LA 22 Apr – 1 May
Mid West Music Fest Winona MN 28-30 Apr
MerleFest Wilksboro NC 28 Apr-1 May
Beale St Memphis TN 29 Apr – 1 May
Key West Songwriter’s Festival Key West FL 4-8 May
Blues Awards Memphis TN 5-May
Nashville Boogie Nashville TN 12-15 May
Shakey Knees Atlanta GA 13-15 May
Bluegrass from the Forest Shelton WA 13-15 May
Strawberry Music Spring Grass Valley CA 25-28 May
Kerrville Kerrville TX 26 May – 12 Jun
DelFest Cumberland MD 26-29 May
Little Walter Music Alexandria LA 27-28 May
Country 500 Daytona FL 27-29 May
Bottle Rock Napa Valley CA 27-29 May
John Hartford Memorial Bean Blossom IA 2-4 Jun
Mountain Jam Hunter Mtn, NY 2-5 Jun
Nelsonville Nelsonville OH 2-5 Jun
Roots on the River Bellows Falls VT 3-5 Jun
Blue Ox Music Eau Claire  WI 9-11 Jun
Bonnaroo Manchester TN 9-12 Jun
Huck Finn Jubilee Greater Ontario, CA 10-12 Jun
Chicago Blues Chicago IL 10-12 Jun
Riverbend Chattanooga TN 10-18 Jun
Mountains of Music Homecoming Various VA 10-18 Jun
Telluride Bluegrass Telluride CO 16-19 Jun
Clearwater’s Great Hudson Revival Croton Pt Park NY 18-19 Jun
ROMP Owensboro KY 22-25 Jun
River and Roots Berryville VA 23-25 Jun
Frendly Gathering Timber Ridge VT 23-25 Jun
Kate Wolf Music Laytonville CA 23-26 Jun
Big Barrel Country Music Dover DE 24-26 Jun
Mocassin Creek Effingham IL 24-26 Jun
Summerfest Milwaukee WI 29 Jun – Jul 10
High Sierra Music Quincy CA 30 Jun – 3 Jul
Great Blue Heron Sherman NY 1-3 Jul
Dega Jam Talladega AL 1-3 Jul
Waterfront Blues Portland OR 1-4 Jul
Red Wing Roots Natural Chimneys Park VA 8-10 Jul
Square Roots Chicago Chicago IL 8-10 Jul
Green River Greenfield MA 8-10 Jul
The Ride Telluride CO 9-10 Jul
Woody Guthrie Folk Okemah OK 13-17 Jul
Grey Fox Bluegrass Oak Hill NY 14-17 Jul
Northwest String Summit North Plains OR 14-17 Jul
Forecastle Louisville KY 15-17 Jul
Homegrown Music Ozark AR 21-23 Jul
Grassroots Trumansburg NY 21-24 Jul
Newport Folk Newport RI 22-24 Jul
Lowell Folk Lowell MA 24-26 Jul
Floydfest Floyd VA 27-31 Jul
red ants pants White Sulphur Springs MT 28-31 Jul
Outlaws and Legends Avon CO 29-30 Jul
Rockygrass Lyons CO 29-31 Jul
Outside Lands San Francisco CA 5-7 Aug
Pickathon Happy Valley OR 5-7 Aug
Musik Fest Bethlehem PA 5-14 Aug
Podunk Bluegrass Music Hebron CT 11-14 Aug
Peach Music Scranton PA 11-14 Aug
Eaux Claires Eau Claire  WI 12-13 Aug
Philadelphia Folk Upper Salford PA 18-21 Aug
Folks Lyons CO 19-21 Aug
Hot August Music Cockeysville MD 20-Aug
Musicfest NorthWest Portland OR 21-23 Aug
Fayetteville Roots Fayetteville AR 25-28 Aug
Jam in the Trees Black Mountain NC 26-27 Aug
American Folk Bangor ME 26-28 Aug
Strawberry Music Fall Tuolomne CA 1-4 Sep
North Coast Music Chicago IL 2-4 Sep
Four Corners Folk Pagosa Springs CO 2-4 Sep
Rhythm and Roots Charlestown RI 2-4 Sep
Muddy Roots Music Cookeville TN 2-5 Sep
Appaloosa Music Front Royal VA 3-4 Sep
Big Muddy Blues St Louis MO 5-6 Sep
Lockn Music Arrington VA 8-11 Sep
Mother Road Revival Tulsa OK 8-11 Sep
Big Blues Bender Las Vegas NV 8-11 Sep
Sisters Folk Festival Sisters OR 9-11 Sep
Walnut Valley Winfield KS 14-18 Sep
Deep Roots Mountain Revival Masontown WV 15-18 Sep
Kaaboo San Diego CA 16-18 Sep
Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion Bristol TN 16-18 Sep
FreshGrass Bluegrass North Adams MA 16-18 Sep
Telluride Blues and Brews Telluride CO 16-18 Sep
Festival Palomino Shakopee MN 17-Sep
Grand Point North Burlington VT 17-18 Sep
Americana Music Awards Nashville TN 20-25 Sep
Outer Banks Bluegrass Roanoke Island NC 21-24 Sep
Trans-Pecos Marfa Tx 22-25 Sep
Watermelon Park Berryville VA 22-25 Sep
Wide Open Bluegrass Raleigh NC 27 Sep -1 Oct
Paluxy River Fall Bluegrass Glen Rose TX 29 Sep – 1 Oct
3 Sisters Bluegrass Chattanooga TN 30 Sep-1 Oct
Roots N Blues N BBQ Columbia MO 30 Sep-2 Oct
Hardly Strictly Bluegrass San Francisco CA 30 Sep -2 Oct
Austin City Limits Austin TX 30 Sep – 9 Oct
King Biscuit Blues Helena AK 5-8 Oct
Richmond Folk Richmond VA 7-9 Oct
Festy Experience Arrington VA 7-9 Oct
Hillberry Harvest Music Ozark AR 13-16 Oct
Festivals Acadiens et Creoles Lafayette LA 13-16 Oct
Crescent City Blues and BBQ New Orleans LA 14-16 Oct
American Roots Music and Arts Raleigh NC 17-18 Oct
Blue Ridge Folklife Festival Ferrum VA 22-Oct
Bridge School Benefit Mountain View CA 22-23 Oct
Voodoo Experience New Orleans LA 28-30 Oct
Treme Creole Gumbo New Orleans LA 12-13 Nov

***

 

Author: Rob Dickens

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10 Comments

  1. Rob,
    Great list. I would add Pickathon (Happy Valley OR Aug 5-7) & Kerrville Folk Fest TX
    late May/early June.

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  2. Thank you for including Festival International de Louisiane on your list. I invite you to take a look at Festivals Acadiens et Creoles, a festival taht started as the Tribute to Cajun Music Festival in 1974 and has grown to a three-day event dedicated to preserving the Cajun and Creole heritages of South Louisiana. http://www.festivalsacadiensetcreoles.com.

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    • Hi Kelly – yes, I’ve heard some good things about Festivals Acadiens et Creoles. An Aussie friend of mine, Amanda, went there last year and has told me it’s a “must do”. I’ve added it to the list and updated the article. Thanks for the feedback. Rob

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  3. Thanks for the good tips Mark – I’ve included your suggestions in an updated list. Cheers Rob

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  4. You forgot Woody Fest held in Okemah, Ok. July 13-17. 2016

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  5. This is a great list. You might want to add the French quarter festival in New Orleans and roots on the river in Vermont.

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    • A good question Char. I’m still planning, but I hope to do four or five events around August/September 2016. Americana in Nashville and Bristol’s Rhythms and Roots are pretty much locked in (they are side by side and only a short drive between). Not sure what else yet as I am waiting for line-up announcements. Cheers.

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