The Rhythm & Roots Vibe: Hard to Pin Down, but Irresistible

First-time visitors to The Rhythm & Roots Festival might mistake it for a three-day music festival, with camping.

While it is that, it’s much more. Now in its 22ndyear,Rhythm & Roots will transform Charlestown’s Ninigret Park into a family-friendly dance party for 5,000 visitors a day from Aug. 30 to Sept. 1.

Rhythm & Roots is all about keeping roots music alive and thriving, but it’s also an annual reunion for longtime festival-goers and more than 300 volunteers. Chuck Wentworth, his wife children and grandchildren produce the festival every year, and the volunteers ensure it goes off without a hitch. Kids who tagged along with their parents years ago are now volunteering themselves and bringing their own children to the party.

Enjoy extended performances on three stages and pop-up, after-hours jams in the campground. Explore 200 acres of natural habitat or stick to the coziness of your campground ‘neighborhood,’ or your blanket at the Rhythm Stage. Rhythm & Roots is a blend of the familiar and unexpected: old friends, new Rhythm & Roots converts; bands that play every year, up-and-coming teenage phenoms; reliable chowder or never-before-tried Cajun and Middle Eastern food.

What better way to describe the vibe than to hear from the volunteers and guests themselves:

  • “It’s a place where people and music collide, creating an experience that supersedes any man-made event.”
  • Rhythm & Roots: “Spreading the love one air chair at a time.”
  • “A fantastic gathering of lovely, fun people and GREAT music. Oh, and don’t forget your dancing shoes.”
  • The festival serves “as a means to an end, creating an atmosphere where music lovers are in cahoots with each other celebrating music as a way of life.”
  • “The volunteers do such a great job providing hospitality to the patrons, making the R&R18 festival a happy, peaceful musical community.”
  • “My only complaint is that R&R has made me just not like the day after Labor Day.”
  • “I love my once-a-year family.”