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Roots Ball festival brings new sound to Memorial Day weekend

MEDICINE PARK - The cobblestone community's newest music festival will feature some old-time Americana flavors.

The Roots Ball is set for Memorial Day weekend with music starting Friday night and continuing through midnight Sunday. The holiday weekend is normally reserved for the annual Red Dirt Ball, but organizer Dwight Cope decided it was time to make a change this year.

"Red dirt music is pretty prevalent around here," he said. "You can go five miles in any direction and see a band. It felt like it was time to do something a little bit different."

The inaugural Roots Ball will feature a mix of bluegrass, reggae and Americana excellence. Cope said he went all out for the first ever festival, crafting one of the finest and most impressive lineups ever for a Medicine Park music festival.

"We've got an indie band out of Fort Worth," Cope said. "They're pretty unique. We've got bands from New York City, North Carolina, Louisiana, Kansas City and other places. It's a pretty wide variety. There's a lot of different stuff here  a lot of cool stuff that doesn't fit in any other place. I think this will be a good place for them."

A few of the bands have played at Medicine Park before, mostly during the Parkstomp festival on spring break. Cope said people might initially see similarities between the Roots Ball music and Parkstomp music, but he said there's a pretty big difference. This is a festival for those that really couldn't fit in.

"There's not a whole lot of crossover, though I've heard some people make that remark," he said. "While Parkstomp is very Americana, we're going to make that into a more traditional bluegrass. Roots Ball will be for these misfit kids that don't have any real places to play now."

The Roots Ball will officially begin at 7 p.m. Friday with Kyle Lacy and Harlem River Noise. Returning to Medicine Park, Opal Agafia and the Sweet Nothings will perform at 8:30 p.m. Carrie Nation and the Speakeasy, also a returning favorite, will perform at 10 p.m. 

The music begins at 2 p.m. Saturday with The Juju Beans on the Main Stage. Kyle Lacy and the Harlem River Noise will perform an encore at 4 p.m. Opal Agafia and Sweet Nothings will perform again at 6 p.m. Spoonfed Tribe will take the stage at 8 p.m. The day will conclude with a two-hour performance from Dirtfoot from 10 p.m. to midnight. 

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