This morning, the American Roots Music & Arts Festival announced its lineup for its first two-night stand at Raleigh's Walnut Creek Amphitheatre, Saturday, Oct. 18–Sunday, Oct. 19. And, yes, it's pretty pale
. Country star Eric Church headlines both nights, with Sheryl Crow and Willie Nelson serving as the weekend's other biggest names.
Modest Mouse and Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros will ostensibly appeal to the more hip indie crowd. Surprisingly, The Roots, who led Hopscotch 2012 in downtown Raleigh, are also among the headliners, derailing the guess that the festival's token non-white booking would be Darius Rucker. The Tedeschi Trucks Band, Warren Haynes, Grace Potter, Chris Stapleton, Railroad Earth, Leftover Salmon and Greensky Bluegrass are also among the initial acts that were announced.
For billing themselves as an American roots-focused festival, there seem to be some holes here. Sure, acts like the Tedeschi Trucks Band will present solid blues offerings, but "roots" music is too often code for middle-aged white folks' twangy inclinations, including but not limited to country, bluegrass and the ilk. Those styles are all great, but a lot of roots music is largely built on black traditions, of course. Jazz, hip-hop, blues and gospel are all distinctly American musics, but they rarely get representation in festival lineups like these, which claim to champion such American roots. We'll see that happening again here in October.
There are still a few acts to be added and announced in September, so perhaps the booking will even out in the coming weeks. Tickets go on sale Monday, with two-day ticket prices starting at $79 and going to $1,000. There will be no single-day tickets.