Things you can do for free during Fayetteville Roots Festival

Dylan Earl / Courtesy

Fayetteville Roots Festival is coming up next week, and even if you don’t have tickets to the mainstage shows at Fayetteville Town Center or at George’s Majestic Lounge, there are still plenty of opportunities around town to enjoy the event.

Mainstage headliners this year include The Wood Brothers, Taj Mahal, Bettye Lavette, North Mississippi Allstars, and Brady Blade Senior and the Hallelujah Train. Any tickets still left to those shows would be found here.

George’s will host ticketed shows during the festival, including Maggie Rose and Leyton Robinson on Friday (Aug. 26), and Arlo McKinley and Logan Halsted on Saturday (Aug. 27). There are also some restaurant takeovers and other food-related events to check out.

In addition to the ticketed events, festival organizers this week announced the return of free community programming as part of the event sponsored by locals Hershey & Denise Garner and Neal & Gina Pendergraft that will take place at Fayetteville Public Library.

You’ll also find free music at Maxine’s Tap Room and Ozark Natural Foods as part of the event.

Even some non-festival venues will get into the act, with free music during the festival from locals Chooch Meisenbacher & Friends at Kingfish.

Here’s what we know about some of the zero-dollar events happening during the festival this year.

Community Programing at Fayetteville Public Library and Roots HQ

For the first time since 2019, KUAF record a live version of their Ozarks at Large radio show during the festival. The one-hour show begins at noon and runs until 1 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 26, and will feature interviews and performances by festival artists. In addition to the broadcast, more live shows will take place from 1-5 p.m. Friday and from noon to 5 p.m. on Saturday that will be taped for future editions of the radio show. There will be a reserved area for festival pass-holders, but there will also be limited seating and a standing area for the public available on a first-come, first-served basis. Friday performers include Reggie James Gospel, Tray Weillington, Samantha Crain, Dead Horses, and artists performing on Saturday include Rachel Ammons, Radio Free Honduras, The Honey Dewdrops, and Brother Brothers.

Also at the library will be the Taste & Talk Culinary series held from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. on Friday in the Walker Community room. This event will be hosted by Daniel Hintz, and will feature “guest chefs, local farmers, makers, and culinary influencers together on stage and in conversation.” Seating for this event will also be first-come, first-served basis. A detailed schedule for the Taste & Talk series is available here.

In addition, Fayetteville Roots HQ will host some free community shows as well. Free shows include J Wagner at 3 p.m. on Friday, followed by Meadow Makers at 4 p.m. On Saturday, Shannon Wurst will perform at 3 p.m., and Sons of Otis Malone will perform at 4 p.m.

Free shows at Jammin Java

Jammin Java’s new location next to the Fayetteville Town Center will host some free music this weekend as well.

The venue will host banjo player Nikolai Margulis at 4 p.m. on Friday., with Mariachi Joya Azteca set to play at 5 p.m. On Saturday, Noah Richmond and Jeff Gray will take the stage.

Free shows at Maxine’s Tap Room

Expect plenty of free music at Maxine’s Tap Room, with late-night shows on Friday and Saturday, and a day’s worth of music and performances all day on Sunday this year.

The venue will host Fayetteville country artist Dylan Earl on Friday night, and Arkansas-based singer Bonnie Montgomery on Saturday night.

On Sunday at noon, Maxine’s will host A Tribute to Dolly Parton, featuring a who’s-who of local talent, including The Phlegms, McCormick Carlson & Bill Smylie (Monk is King), Dana Idlet, Dylan Earl, Bonnie Montgomery, Opal Agafia, Cindy Woolf, Tara Norton, Dick Darden, Eryn Brothers, and others.

Later on Sunday, Noah Richmond’s Little Monster will perform at 3 p.m., and (currently) Kansas City-based artist Fritz Hutchinson will play at around 6 p.m.

Here’s a bit more about the weekend lineup at Maxine’s.

Front Porch Sessions at Ozark Natural Foods

Dandelion Heart / Courtesy

Ozark Natural Foods will host a free event during the festival this year.

The natural food store at 380 N. College Ave. will present a ‘Front Porch Session’ from noon until 2 p.m. on Saturday (Aug. 27) featuring live music by local folk group, Dandelion Heart.

In addition to the music, chefs Heather Artripe, Dani Kvern, and Justus Ryan Moll will prepare food and beverage pairings for attendees.

Free music at Kingfish

Local musician Chooch Meisenbacher (Cutty Rye, Chooch and the Sidehill Gougers) will play a couple shows at Kingfish during Fayetteville Roots weekend. The shows aren’t official Fayetteville Roots performances, but they’re free and take place during the event, so they’re deserving of an honorable mention here.

Chooch will play an acoustic show on Thursday, Aug. 25 with an all-star lineup of locals including Isayah Warford, Dave Gesualdo, Payton Easley.

On Saturday, he’ll return to their backyard stage with an electrified performance featuring Warford, Gesualdo, and Easley, along with Johnny Arredondo and Richard Burnett.

For a bit more about what he’s calling “Fayetteville Chooch Fest,” check out his Facebook page.

Fayetteville Roots Festival will take place Aug. 25-27 at various locations in downtown Fayetteville. For the full festival lineup, including ticket information and more, visit

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