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Kaw River Roots Festival to return to Lawrence with concerts and celebration of music

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The second annual Kaw River Roots Festival is coming to downtown Lawrence next weekend, celebrating Americana, folk and bluegrass music.

The festival will feature musical performances on various stages, both indoors and outside alongside the Kaw River. Acoustic music lovers in attendance will also be able to enjoy food and drinks from local vendors, one of which is Free State Brewing Company, the event’s official beverage sponsor. 

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“Bringing such a highly regarded group of Americana & Bluegrass artists all together for a weekend in Lawrence like this has long been a goal of ours. This two day line-up is stacked, don’t miss the local and regional artists on this fest, we are very fortunate to have them here so close to home,” Mike Logan, festival organizer, said in a news release.

Two bluegrass quintets are set to headline the festival: Leftover Salmon and three-time Grammy award winner The Infamous Stringdusters. More artists and bands, including Fireside Collective, Kyle Tuttle All Stars, Jon Stickley Trio, Daniel Donato, Opal Agafia, Chain Station, Pretend Friend, Sky Smeed, Lily B Moonflower, The Matchsellers, Jake Keegan Band, Tyler Gregory, Jenna & Martin, and Megan Luttrell will also perform.

The event will be held at historic Abe & Jake’s Landing in downtown Lawrence, named after Abe Burns and Jake Washington, who were prominent commercial fishermen and lived along the Kaw River in the late 1880s.

Washington was also a celebrated fiddle champion, according to Mike Hannah, CEO of Hookset Marketing & Entertainment. The two-day festival pays homage to the two fishermen, the river and the music that came from that time, and it will be followed by the Kansas State Fiddling and Picking Championships, taking place that Sunday afternoon, Aug. 28, in South Park.

Unless the festival sells out beforehand, organizers said they plan on selling tickets at the door, but those interested in attending should purchase tickets ahead of time at this link. Children under age 6 are admitted for free, and re-entry is allowed for all ticket holders.

The Kaw River Roots Festival is scheduled for Friday and Saturday, Aug. 26 and 27 at Abe & Jake’s Landing at 8 E. Sixth St. in Lawrence. Doors open at 4 p.m. both days and concerts last throughout the night. 

Food vendors will include JB’s Taco’s, Lawrence KS Wing Co, Cheesy Street, Lago Vista Grill, Kona Ice and more. Others interested in sponsoring the event or vending at the event can email kawriverroots@gmail.com. 

The schedule of when and where each artist or band will perform can be previewed now on the festival’s website. For more information and to stay tuned on event updates, check out the festival’s Facebook, Instagram and Twitter pages.

Sponsors of the event are Free State Brewing Company, A&H Air Conditioning & Heating, Springhill Suites by Marriott, Explore Lawrence, Wildman Web Solutions, Abe & Jake’s Landing, Hookset Marketing & Entertainment LLC, and the City of Lawrence, according to the news release.

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Maya Hodison (she/her), equity reporter, can be reached at mhodison (at) lawrencekstimes (dot) com. Read more of her work for the Times here. Check out her staff bio here.

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