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Bend Roots Festival lands new location and sponsor in Deschutes Brewery

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Matthew Grimes

The Bend Roots Festival has been in five different locations in as many years.

Starting in the cross-street parking lots of the Victorian Café and Parrilla Grill, the local music festival upgraded to the Century Center in 2011 only to be canceled last minute at the same location in 2012. Then, last year placed Bend's largest homegrown music festival at the now defunct Pakit Liquidators on a stormy weekend in September, and despite extreme wind and rain, it still saw nearly 100 bands rock the junkyard as it threatened to blow apart in the storm. The event raised over $10,000 for music and arts education in Central Oregon and welcomed 3,000 attendees.

"The fact that it's still going and is widely supported shows that it's the event, not the location that matters," said organizer Mark Ransom. "It's much larger than the festival. It is how the Roots Festival enhances and builds and develops our arts community and how directly money, sponsorship and beer sales, and merchandise sales all funnel into creating an incredibly strong arts community. We want people to lock on to that philanthropic, fun, celebratory feeling."

This year, Roots has announced yet another new location, this time, on the field below the Deschutes Brewery production facility in the Old Mill.

"Mark Ransom came to us as a longtime fan and friend of Deschutes," explained event coordinator Angela Jasus. "He's been in the community forever and Roots was looking for a little more central, open location. We do a lot with community involvement anyway so it was a perfect tie in. We are stoked to keep the cold beer flowing while all proceeds go back into the educational programs that Roots supports."

The Deschutes lawn will be home to two stages, said Ransom, who explained that there will be two additional stages at the nearby Art Station and two inside the Bend Armory that will serve as a late-night venue as well as a space for workshops during the festival. This 5-6 stage blueprint, the same that Ransom has used in the past for Roots, will allow 90-plus local bands to play across the three-day festival. All of the organizers are volunteers, and 100 percent of the profits go back to local arts education.

"Two years ago we started a summer music and art camp and have been able to provide scholarships to 50-60 percent of the students," explained Jesse Roberts of Rise Up International, the nonprofit beneficiary of the festival. "We also have a group of music teachers that provide free lessons in several local schools. Both of these programs are funded through proceeds from the Roots festival. Roots has always been by the people–for the people. It's going to be a family friendly event with its usual grassroots funkiness, and surprises along the way."

Bend Roots Festival

Sept., 26-28 2014


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