Roots on the River festival

BELLOWS FALLS, Vt. – Newcomers, fan favorites, and veteran singer/songwriters have lined up to light the stage at this year’s Roots on the River Festival to be held Friday, June 9, through Sunday, June 11.

The event will feature the return of popular headliner Hayes Carll on Saturday night, flanked by an eclectic mix of musical entertainment throughout the weekend of Southern Vermont’s premiere music festival.

“We are thrilled to have Hayes return to the Roots stage,” Ray Massucco, Vermont Festivals LLC promoter, said. “Our festivalgoers love Hayes, and Hayes loves our unique festival!”

roots festival
Roots on the River. Photo provided

Last year’s popular expanded Full Gospel Hour Show on Sunday at the Rockingham meeting House will continue, featuring Nashville-based festival veteran Mary Gauthier, hosting the lively, unforgettable event that is equally popular with locals and out-of-towners as well.

“Mary has joined us since 2000, stirring the crowd with her passionate lyrics and mesmerizing melodies,” Massucco said.

Massucco also announced this year’s non-profit beneficiary is the Bellows Falls Bike Project. Buy tickets from them, and they keep 50 percent of the proceeds.

The first two days of the festival take place under the Big Tent at the Rodeway Inn on Friday and Saturday, with early birds gathering at Donovan’s in Bellows Falls on Thursday night to set the tone for the festivities.

Friday’s lineup will include first time appearances by Ian Foster from Newfoundland, a singer/songwriter with the heart of a storyteller and poet, and Betty Soo, who hails from Austin, Texas. Woodsmith & Hersch will perform on Friday. Dan Weber, a three-times Roots veteran, newcomers Birds of Chicago and the fabulous Bill Kirchen will round out Friday’s show.

On Saturday, we welcome Roger Marin, who has faithfully played at every Roots festival, along with three-time performers The Meadows Brothers! The day’s lineup also includes Chester native The Suitcase Junket, who has appeared with Rusty Belle, RotR newcomer Ghosts of the American Road, Brooklyn-born singer/songwriter Dayna Kurtz, and the energetic and engaging Boxcar Lilies.

New England based folk quartet Rani Arbo & Daisy Mayhem will return for the first time since 2004, and long-time favorite Hayes Carll will top off the evening after a five-year hiatus.

Saturday also features our specially staffed Youth Tent, with games, crafts, and healthy snacks, so parents can let the kids play in easy view of the concert area.

The festival winds down on Sunday with one of its most popular venues, the landmark Rockingham Meeting House. “The Full Gospel Hour Show was overwhelmingly successful last year,” Massucco said. “So we are building on it this year by popular demand!”

Joining Gauthier at the Meeting House are The Meadows Brothers, The Boxcar Lilies, and Dayna Kurtz.

“The Sunday Meeting House show is already at slightly over 50 percent of capacity, and always sells out, so if you are interested, purchasing your tickets early is advised. The Sunday show is the only one with limited seating,” Massucco said.

The festival is smoke-free, and family and pet friendly, so make this weekend an outing for everyone to enjoy. Children’s tickets and Saturday family ticket packages will be available at the gate. There is also a Deluxe Weekend package, including admission to the venues 30 minutes early on Friday and Saturday, and 15 minutes early on Sunday, with guaranteed seating all three days.

Deluxe Ticket holders are invited to visit a catered hospitality tent on Friday from 3:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. to meet and greet with artists. They also receive a discount on RotR merchandise and souvenirs, reserved parking at the Rodeway Inn, and a going away bash at Donovan’s on Sunday with food, music, and door prizes.

There is a limited number of Deluxe Tickets for guaranteed seats under the big tent, so plan to come early or bring a small lawn chair or blanket. Vendors will be on-site to provide food and beverages, and no glass is allowed at the venue.

“There is expanded rough camping for the first time this year,” Massucco said. “Lots of open field camping on site.”

For more information, and to purchase tickets, please go to, or call 802-460-3333.

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