For those wishing to start their Roots N Blues N BBQ weekend early, downtown Columbia is hosting a kickoff event on Thursday featuring live music and special deals at local restaurants.
From 5 to 9 p.m., the streets of downtown Columbia will be home to music acts like Soul Mama and Pat Kay. Along with outside street performers, local businesses will also be hosting shows by music groups like Paul Weber & The Scrappers and Tim Carey. Apart from the Ana Popovik concert at the Missouri Theatre, the rest of the shows are free.
Local businesses like specialty coffee shop Ugly Mugg will be involved in the event Thursday. The shop opened in downtown Columbia in August with a menu of alcoholic coffees and is looking forward to being a part of the Roots N Blues Kick-Off event.
“I’ve been in Columbia my whole life. I am excited to be a part of it,” said Jenny Thompson, owner of Ugly Mugg.
Roots N Blues gives people an excuse to come out, she said, and hopes that Columbia visitors will stop in the store as they are exploring downtown.
The event will also be a showcase for local musicians and will welcome people coming to Columbia for the festival.
“I suppose we’re a bit of an ambassador for what’s going on culturally and food-wise in the city,” said Walker Claridge owner of Broadway Brewery. The brewery is hosting his favorite musical act, Austin Jones and the Bootheel Boys, on Thursday.
Richard King, owner of Thumper Entertainment which puts on the Roots N Blues N BBQ, said he is glad that the festival and downtown Columbia can continue their strong partnership.