WEDNESDAY 8/21-SUNDAY 8/25. Various locations, Northwest Arkansas. $79-$600.
It seems that we are likely on the downside of the festival boom at this point after hitting a dismally absurd zenith at the Fyre Festival. Hopefully, the future of such festivals looks a lot less like that disaster and more like the Fayetteville Roots Festival, which is a small, lovingly curated celebration of both roots music and roots food. Spread over a number of Northwest Arkansas venues, the 2019 edition of the festival offers an excellent lineup of musicians and chefs who will bring their substantial gifts to the Ozarks. For a self-professed “roots” festival, the lineup is admirably diverse, featuring legend Mavis Staples, modern soul outfit St. Paul and the Broken Bones, English singer/guitarist Yola, Americana-ish Hiss Golden Messenger, troubadour John Fullbright and many other talented musicians and chefs. The can’t-miss set of the weekend might be banjoist/fiddler/vocalist Rhiannon Giddens, playing with Italian jazz musician Francisco Turrisi. The Carolina Chocolate Drops singer’s most recent albums, which fuse gospel, jazz, opera and other traditional music, are stunning examinations of African-American life throughout American history and into the present. See therootsfest.org for a full schedule, passes and details.