More than 25,000 people are expected to attend this year's Roots N Blues N BBQ Festival, which raises the question, where is everyone going to park?
The festival kicks off tomorrow at Stephens Lake Park and runs through Sunday, September 28.
This year, Roots N Blues N BBQ teamed up with COMO Connect to ease parking tensions by offering free transportation services for the festival all weekend long.
Drew Brooks is the multi-modal manager for COMO Connect. He said, “We’re going to be offering free rides for everyone, not just for the Roots N Blues Festival. But what we’re hoping is people will take this opportunity to try out the system and use this as a ride to get to and from the festival.”
COMO Connect buses normally do not run on Sundays. However, the Roots N Blues Festival is an exception. Brooks said after the festival busses will be staged at the park to take passengers downtown and to their neighborhoods.
Thumper Entertainment manages the Roots N Blues Festival. Thumper's president, Betsy Farris said, there is no parking onsite at the park, its green space.
Farris said in addition to the free COMO Connect services offered by the city, there will also be shuttle buses running to the park from all six parking garages in Columbia.
Farris said last year more than 25,000 people attended the festival. This year she expects more. She said, “Ticket sales are up, in large part due to the lineup and also the fact [that] when folks came out last year they just had an amazing time.”
If all goes well this year, Brooks said the free rides might happen again next year.