Vermont Festivals/Roots on the River Vermont Festivals/Roots on the River

Roots on the River: News & FAQ

FAQ, Humblebrags, & Completely Biased Opinions

Here’s a list of common questions we get, as well as some guidelines for what to bring and what to leave at home. We want you to have a great festival experience, so please don’t hesitate to call on our staff and amazing volunteers if there is anything you need while on site.

Yes, there are some rules at our festival. We try to keep them reasonable, and they are generally designed to promote consideration and respect for your fellow festival-goers, maintenance of a safe and comfortable environment, and adherence to local laws, not just because we like making rules and bossing you around. For the better part of 3 days, we become a little community of music-lovers, and it helps if we all try to live by the basic principles of human decency: Be nice, have fun, share your crayons and don’t bite your neighbors. Don't be a tool, capisce?

To what does my ticket entitle me? It depends. There are different types of tickets sold for the festival, with different levels of benefits associated with each. Make sure to read the fine print before you purchase, so you know if your ticket includes premium tent seating or other perks.

Can I sit in the brown folding chairs under the tent? If you bought a deluxe ticket that includes a wristband, yes. If you bought any other type of ticket, you may bring a folding chair of your own (regularly sized, no chaises and no extendable footrests) and set it up on the grass under the tent, space allowing. Ushers will help you set up so that everyone can see, hear, and have an enjoyable tent experience.

What's up with parking? It's free, and there's tons of it. Now you've got extra cash to spend on merch & beer!

What if I only want to come for one or two of the acts? Sure! That will be $999.99, payable in cash at the box office (please, no pennies, folding money only), and you can see one single act of your choice. Festival tickets are festival tickets. You buy your ticket for the day, a few individual days, or the whole weekend. We are not able to offer discounts for people who arrive late or only want to see one or two of the acts. While the Box Office has heard some amazing pitches for why someone ought to be able to pay for only the number of minutes of music they have consumed, they are not known for budging on this issue.

What if it rains? The festival happens rain or shine, so suck it up. Not much choice otherwise, unless you're a weather deity (please let us know in advance if this is true - there's a free weekend pass in it for you & a friend, and we can skip the weather insurance). While it's a BIG tent, we can’t guarantee covered seating for general admission ticketholders. The only way to secure yourself a seat under the tent is by purchasing a deluxe package that includes a wristband for tent seating.

Can I enter and exit the festival grounds at will, once I’ve had my ticket ripped? Yes, as long as you have a wristband or hand stamp to show the box office staff (and you should receive a hand stamp upon admission).

If I buy a wristband ticket, do I have to wear it all weekend long? Yep – that’s why we make them in such attractive colors and out of such comfortable materials.

Can I meet the musicians? Many of the artists will appear at the merchandise table after their sets to sell & sign merch, or maybe take some fan pix. Be chill, don't hog anyone's time - a lot of other people want to talk with them as well. There's a good chance that you'll run into some of the artists during the festival - they're fans as well as performers.

Can I bring my own liquor into the festival? Not unless you own a brewery/winery/distillery, and you're bringing enough for everyone. To do so jeopardizes the festival’s liquor license and may be cause for the festival to be shut down – and do you really want to be THAT person? There is beer and wine for sale inside the gate. Alcohol purchased on site must be consumed on site and cannot be taken outside the fence. [TL;DR - NO.]

Can I consume alcohol in the parking lot? How do you look in an orange DOC jumpsuit? Vermont has an open container law. Local and state police will patrol the area, looking for violations. While Ray may be a lawyer, he doesn’t want to be YOUR lawyer. At least not during the festival. Not for any* amount of money. (*Well, maybe for a certain amount of money - enough to fund RotR for the next 5 years. YMMV. No guarantees. Consult with your spouse, significant other, and voices in your head before attempting this.)

Can I bring my own food into the festival? Nope. We’ve contracted with great local vendors offering an array of comestibles, and hope you enjoy them as much as we do. There will be everything from barbecue to fried dough as well as vegetarian and healthful options. Or, keep a cooler of snacks in your vehicle and have a parking lot picnic whenever, weirdo.

Can I bring my dog? Yes, if they're well-behaved, leashed at all times, and their people clean up any messes (same goes for kids). Bring your own poop bags! The site can get too hot, crowded and overwhelming for some dogs; there is little shade, so have an alternative plan for your dog – leaving your dog in the car (even with windows open) isn't cool, and if parking attendants have concerns about it, you'll need to relocate your dog to a safer, more comfortable place. Bring plenty of water, food and anything else your kid dog may need for a comfortable festival.

Can I bring my kids? Please do - real music's good for 'em, and we have a kids' activity tent on Saturday! Kids are welcome to join us under the big tent, but be considerate of others and step out for a breather if any caterwauling starts (yours or theirs).

Can I smoke? Sure, if you're on fire.The festival grounds are smoke free, and there is a designated smoking area out past the main gate. No vaping or e-cigs, either. Standing immediately outside the gate and blowing your smoke into the box office is uncool and makes the volunteers cranky. They may be armed with squirt guns; if you're smoking too close to them, good luck.

Is there handicapped parking? Yes, for vehicles with handicapped plates or placards; ask any of the parking attendants to direct you to the handicapped parking spaces right outside the main gate. Once there, if you need assistance getting into the festival grounds, one of our gate attendants will be happy to escort you inside.

What can I bring inside the festival grounds with me?

- Your fine self and a sunny disposition
- A regular sized lawn chair or blanket or beanbag (no chaises/chairs with extendable foot rests or shade canopies; if you want to haul in a Barcalounger, +1000 style points but you have to sit behind everyone else)
- Metal or plastic water bottles. NO GLASS. Water will be available for purchase inside.
- A reasonably-sized bag for personal items
- Your leashed, well-behaved dog and/or children (you don’t have to leash the children, but it's always funny)
- Sunscreen
- Rain gear
(Best to bring both - it's Vermont in early June, after all. Remember 2004?)

Absolutely no:
- Alcohol of any kind, as mentioned above. If this becomes a problem, we will start checking bags, and we'd hate to have to do that.
- Attitude
- Coolers
- Glass
- Tents, shade canopies, yurts, hammocks, or any sort of structure

Helpful hints for the Sunday Meeting House show:

- Bring a seat cushion or pillow. Ergonomic design = witchcraft in 1787.
- Bringing water? Label your bottle – no food or drink is allowed inside, but we'll have water bottle parking outside.
- Be aware that light-colored clothing, sweaty backs, and antique wood stain are a bad combo. "Meeting House Back Stripe" isn't a good look, ever.
- Early birds get premium parking up on top of the hill. Later arrivals should prepare for a bit of a hike down the road and up the hill. Comfy footwear is advisable (in general, but especially for the Sunday show).
- Seating inside is not reserved, but a deluxe ticket gets you in prior to general admission.
- Turn off your phone. Respect the music. Better yet, leave it in your car. If it rings, dings, buzzes, beeps, or vibrates audibly during the show, everyone else gets to make fun of you in perpetuity. There will be pointing & quite possibly booing - even hissing. You will bring shame upon your children, your children's children, your children's children's children, etc. Your neighbors will shun you, your crops will wither & die, and you may bring about the End Times. Don't do that. We'd like to do this again next year!
- Have fun, please! (or don't, I guess. Your call, free will, all that stuff.)

"Bellows Falls, Vt., worth a visit and a listen"

- so says no less a paper of record than the Boston Globe. Veterans of Roots on the River should find some familiar names & places in this article, and maybe some new spots to visit while here for the festival!

Read the full article:

Acoustic Guitar Magazine (Feb. '14) had this to say about Roots on the River: