Fantastic lineup planned for Rhythm & Roots


What are you doing Labor Day weekend? Why not join me for the best music festival in Rhode Island, The Rhythm & Roots Festival at Ninigret Park.

Except for the pandemic, I have never missed this family-friendly event that features a wide variety of roots music, from Cajun and Zydeco to Western and Folk, to Bluegrass and New Orleans Jazz.

There is something for everyone, with major roots stars performing over three days and nights on the main stage, dancing to live bands under a huge tent, the intimate workshop tent where fans get up close and personal with the artist and a children’s tent where activities spill out over the sprawling lawn.

Did I mention the food? Jambalaya, ribs, Thai, Mexican, Red Beans and Rice, Shrimp etouffee, seafood and of course, pizza. Arts and crafts booths line the main area perimeter.

Many folks take advantage of the campsites in the park. There’s even a swimming hole to cool off.

I make the trip from Cranston all three days, taking Route 2 to Route 1, bringing my lawn chair, a blanket for the cool nights, sunscreen, a hat, water and iced tea, sunglasses and a snack for in-between visiting food booths.

Chuck Wentworth has retired, and there was concern that the festival had reached the end of its days, but thanks to Tyler Grill, CEO of Goodworks Entertainment out of Hartford, Connecticut, the festival goes on with one of the best lineups ever. Thankfully, Chuck has stayed on as a consultant.

Grill promises no major changes in the festival and says he looks forward to working with Wentworth.

We’ll be able to listen to Steve Reilly and the Mammou Playboys play their lively Cajun music. I’ve watched Reilly since he was a teenager, and now he has a teenage son in the band.

A New Orleans Party is planned for Friday, Sept. 2, opening day, and will feature the music of Cowboy Mouth, one of the popular bands of the south, in addition to festival favorite Nathan and the Zydeco Cha Chas.

Grace Potter heads the lineup Saturday, along with Donna the Buffalo and the Pine Leaf Boys.

Sunday, Sept. 4 features Little Feat.

Steve Riley and Nathan play both Saturday and Sunday, along with other artists. Music is continuous from noon into the late evening.

The music begins at 4 p.m. on Friday. Tickets are $49. Saturday and Sunday music is continuous from noon until well after 11 p.m., continuing at the campsite with some old fashioned hoedowns. Tickets are $79 each Saturday and Sunday. A three-day pass is $199.

For more information, check out the Rhythm & Roots colorful website at


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