In 2006 the Roots and Rhythm Music and Arts Festival was started as a way to spread joy and enrichment through a jam-packed day of music and art. Anyone familiar with Honesdale knows this festival meets a standard maybe not familiar with other people. Rooted in the tradition of an old railroad town, the community also has a collective penchant for creativity. So if it decides to do something it is sure to be traditional and unique at the same time. Something done right, and something done different. To a tee, this is Roots and Rhythm.
After the Mayor issues the customary proclamation for Roots and Rhythm, the events start. Music begins to play, and the vendor booths open. Art vendors line the downtown streets selling high quality crafts and beautiful works of art. Everything from custom wood turning, to ceramic murals, to expressionist paint, to inventive jewelry is on display. Food vendors are on site and offer the customary fair grub – sandwiches, lemonade, fresh fries. The epicenter of the festival is the Honesdale Central Park. To call it beautiful is an offensive understatement. This park served as inspiration for the song “Winter’s Wonderland” so it’s not hard to imagine just what the town is working with here.
The Roots and Rhythm main stage is held at Central Park and is an impressive achievement in and of itself. That is to say, the stage is well endowed. More impressive than the setting is the bill of music. Since its inauguration the festival has managed to score a selection of bands from all over the country; bands which are not unaccustomed to playing for large festivals. At the downtown stage, regional acts sponsored by local businesses play all morning into the early afternoon. Despite the lofty lineup, the mood is chill, like the town. Grab a lawn chair or a blanket, pack a picnic or you know, whatever. The festival – a mimic of Honesdale itself – seems to encourage so easily one mantra: Enjoy the day.
Admission and parking is free