Annual Rhythm & Roots Fest features top Americana acts Friday through Sunday

As the Arbiters of Hip continually dictate what music and/or fashion is acceptable for Coolness, and gatherings such as Coachella, Bonnaroo, Pitchfork and Lollapalooza respond accordingly, we're thankful for the consistently sturdy Rhythm & Roots Festival at Ninigret Park in Charleston, R.I.

The annual Labor Day weekend event has for years brought the finest acts in roots music — those who are established, those who are up-and-coming, and those who maybe aren't as famous as they should be (but who are great anyway).

This year's gathering, taking place Friday through Sunday, boasts a wonderful array of performers. A few highlights — and mark 'em down — would include Big Sam's Funky Nation (6 p.m. Friday, 9 p.m. Saturday), Steve Earle & the Dukes (9:30 p.m. Friday), Bonerama (4:45 p.m. Saturday), and the Taj Mahal Trio (9:30 p.m. Sunday).

But all three days are stuffed with great artists — and don't forget the merch/crafts, music and dance lessons, camping, and food/beer.

Oh, and the fest pre-party takes place at 8 p.m. Thursday at the Knickerbocker Music Center in Westerly with sets by Donna the Buffalo and the CarLeans.

Rhythm & Roots Festival, noon-midnight Fri.-Sun, Ninigret Park, 5 Park Lane, Charlestown, R.I.; $75 adults daily ($37 for teens), $210 weekend pass ($105 for teens); rhythmandroots.com.

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