Fri, 05/24/2019 - 9:52 am

The 22nd Annual Rhythm & Roots Festival will feature alt-country band, Son Volt on Friday, Aug. 30, fan favorite, The Mavericks on Saturday, Aug. 31 and acoustic rockers Railroad Earth on Sunday, Sept. 1.

The festival is an annual gumbo of music, dancing, camping, food and fun. It rolls into Ninigret Park in this small, seaside town over Labor Day weekend, drawing thousands of families for the relaxing, friendly vibe and three full days of authentic roots music.

More than two dozen bands will play a spicy mix of music that challenges any attempt at categorization. You’ll find Zydeco, blues, bluegrass and Cajun, but most bands are a combination of these, or a completely distinctive sound that’s all their own. The Mavericks, for one example, are described as a fusion of Cuban, country, Tex-Mex, alternative and boogie. Railroad Earth plays rock music on acoustic instruments and Son Volt’s latest tunes bring together folk, blues and politics. Each band is known for their energetic, powerful and passionate live shows.

It’s this endless variety that is expected to attract more than 5,000 music and dance lovers each day. Gates open at noon, with performances running every day from 1 p.m. to midnight on four stages. Buy tickets at rhythmandroots.com or call 401.783.3926 or 800.901.7173.

Independent producer Chuck Wentworth, whose family runs the festival, scouts the bands and makes the selections. He’s particularly excited about a handful of bands this year:

“New and different” for Rhythm & Roots is the string trio Hot Club Cowtown and Dustbowl Revival, an eight-piece Americana band, Wentworth says. The bands will join up in an homage to The Band’s first two albums, Music from Big Pink and The Band, released 50 years ago.

Peter Rowan and Free Mexican Airforce with Los Texmaniacs is a conglomeration of three bands. “Peter Rowan has a great following,” Wentworth says. “He’s played with Jerry Garcia and David Grisman, and he’s put out albums with Free Mexican Airforce. Los Texmaniacs – who’ve been here before but not in this role – bring an authentic Tex-Mex feel.”

Speaking of the Grateful Dead’s Jerry Garcia, Joe Craven & the Sometimers, self-described as “acid-rockgrass” and “jazz fusion Americana” will put a fresh spin on the Garcia songbook.