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Around the Columns

Blues and BBQ


The Roots ’n Blues ’n BBQ Festival Sept. 7–8 will feature live music, arts, crafts and the state barbecue championship in downtown Columbia. Photo illustration by Rob Hill and Blake Dinsdale.

To celebrate its 150th anniversary, Boone County National Bank (BCNB) is hosting a downtown Columbia birthday bash. The BCNB Roots ’n Blues ’n BBQ Festival Sept. 7–8 will bring the state barbecue competition, live music, arts, crafts and food.

The free celebration starts at 5 p.m. Sept. 7. Blue Note owner Richard King has lined up an impressive list of blues, gospel and bluegrass bands to perform on stages at Eighth Street and Broadway, Peace Park and Flat Branch Park. Grammy winner Taj Mahal will headline the festival. Other highly anticipated acts include Tab Benoit, the Blind Boys of Alabama and local favorite Chump Change, which includes Pete Szkolka, BA ’91, on keyboards and James “Smitty” Smith Jr., BS BA, BS BA ’94, on bass.

No party would be complete without food, and the state barbecue championship should provide plenty. More than 50 competitors will set up camp around Flat Branch Park Sept. 7 and sweat over smokers all night in preparation for judging Sept. 8. After the competition, participants may sell the meats of their labor.

Street closings will allow space for vendors selling arts, crafts and food to attendees who can’t wait for the BBQ competition to end. Organizers are hoping 30,000 to 40,000 people will attend.

“We wanted something the community would embrace and think is cool,” says Mary Wilkerson, vice president of marketing at BCNB. “Our goal is to create a very fun, relaxing, interesting and entertaining atmosphere.”