Watchhouse (formerly Mandolin Orange), Shovels & Rope, Capitol Sun Rays, others to perform at 2021 Fayetteville Roots Fest

Watchhouse (formerly Mandolin Orange) / Courtesy

As it has for most of the last decade, music from guitars, mandolins, banjos, fiddles, and more will once again ring through the hills of Fayetteville during the last week of August.

That’s because after a hiatus last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Fayetteville Roots Festival is set to return to town for three nights of music in 2021.

Festival officials this week announced the lineup for this year’s event, which will include headliners Shovels & Rope, Watchhouse (formerly known as Mandolin Orange), Capitol Sun Rays (a supergroup made up of Amy Helm, members of Birds of Chicago, Luther Dickinson of North Missisippi of Allstars, and Graham Lesh) and more.

The festival this year will take place outdoors on the grounds of Pratt Place Inn and Barn, located at 2231 W Markham Rd, during the weekend of Aug. 26-28.

The event will kick off on Aug. 26 with folk duo Shovels & Rope (one of the bands set to headline last year before the pandemic), along with blues multi-instrumentalist Cedric Burnside and Canadian singer-songwriter, Steve Poltz.

Shovels and Rope / Courtesy

On Friday, the lineup includes North Carolina duo Watchhouse (known as Mandolin Orange until they announced a name change yesterday), who was also set to headline last year before the pandemic shelved the 2020 event. Friday performers also include LA songwriter Madison Cunningham, and poet/songwriter Allison Russell.

Another supergroup – Capitol Sun Rays – will headline the Saturday show. The band includes songwriter Amy Helm, along with JT Nero, Allison Russell and Drew Lindsay of Birds of Chicago, Luther Dickinson of North Mississippi Allstars, and Graham Lesh (singer/guitarist for Midnight North & The Terrapin Family Band, son of Grateful Dead bass player Phil Lesh). Also on the Saturday night bill are Grammy nominated Mardi Gras Indian funk band Cha Wa, songwriter Ray Wylie Hubbard, and old-time multi-instrumentalist Dom Flemons.

As with everything over the last year or so, things will be a little different at the festival this year.

There will be limited capacity at the event at least to start, though if COVID-19 cases are much better by then, that could increase by the time August rolls around.

The entire event will take place in the single, outdoor venue this year as opposed to the multi-venue approach the festival has typically taken.

Tickets won’t automatically come with food this year either as they have in the past, though food will still be available and a big part of the event, organizers said.

“Thanks for your patience as we rolled out the 2021 plan, and thanks for sticking with ROOTS,” officials posted on the Roots Festival website.

Cedric Burnside / Courtesy

Shows each evening will start at 5 p.m.

Many of the first run of tickets are already sold out, likely because several folks had already purchased tickets to last year’s festival and are using those credits for this year’s event.

Waitlists are available for each evening, however, and we expect that more tickets will become available between now and festival time in August.

The full lineup for this year’s event so far is below.

To sign up for the ticket wait list, visit

Fayetteville Roots Festival 2021 Lineup

Thursday, Aug. 26
Shovels & Rope
Cedric Burnside
Steve Poltz

Friday, Aug. 27
Mandolin Orange
Madison Cunningham
Allison Russell (Birds of Chicago, Our Native Daughters)

Saturday, Aug. 28
Capitol Sun Rays featuring Amy Helm, members of Birds of Chicago, Luther Dickinson, & Graham Lesh
Cha Wa
Ray Wylie Hubbard
Dom Flemons

This article is sponsored by First Security Bank. For more great stories of Arkansas food, travel, sports, music and more, visit