Q&A: Here's what you need to know about Deep Roots 2023


Deep Roots, the artist festival previously known as Sweetwater, is turning 20 years old in a few weeks, believe it or not.

This year's festival is all set for Saturday, Oct. 21. For anyone who hasn't been to Deep Roots in a few years, quite a bit has changed. What sorts of things may you ask:

QUESTION: How much to get in?

ANSWER: It's free for everyone until 6 p.m, which is a departure from previous festivals, when there was always an entry fee. This also means that the entire festival won't be surrounded by fencing, sort of like a jail, and you and your family can just sort of walk in wherever.

QUESTION: What happens after 6 p.m.?

ANSWER: This is where the biggest changes are. Right around 6 o'clock, volunteers and police officers will begin clearing people out the stretch of Hancock Street in front of the post office and City Hall. Festival-goers will be corralled west towards the downtown business district. Fencing then will be erected around that particular block of Hancock, and a makeshift ticket gate will go up along the stretch of road between the Kidd Building and the Masonic Lodge. 

At this point, the City Hall/post office area will transform into the "Main Stage Concert Area." Tickets for the "Main Stage Concert Area" are $30, and the music runs until roughly midnight. For festival organizers, their largest expense has always been booking the musicians.

This year's headliner is Blue's Traveler, which is probably the festival's most famous headlining act ever. If you're still drawing a blank, you may or may not remember the song and the video, back when videos were a thing, for the band's 1994 Billboard Top 10 hit "Run-Around."

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According to the Main Stage ticket portal, which can be checked out HERE, "Purchased tickets will be available for pick-up beginning Monday, October 9 at Advance Will-Call located in the Visit Milledgeville office (200 W. Hancock Street) (Mon-Fri 9 a.m.-5 p.m.; Sat 10 a.m.-4 p.m. ), including Friday, October 20. The Will-Call location on Saturday, October 21 will be announced in mid-October. Valid Photo ID will be required. Refunds will not be issued for unclaimed tickets. This is a rain or shine event."

Also set to perform on the Main Stage are Vanessa Collier and Richard Martin & Friends.

QUESTION: Will there still be free music and entertainment on stage during the day?

ANSWER: Yes. The "Locals Only Stage" will run from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m. Headlining the Locals Only Stage this year is the Scott Little Band. Also performing are:

QUESTION: What are the changes to the KidZone?

ANSWER: The KidZone is now located between City Hall and the public library, which first became the new set-up at last year's festival. Although general admission into the festival is now free, the KidZone is now using a pay model. Wristbands for children 6-and-under will be $10 and $15 for kids 7 & up. Festival organizers encourage kids to "enjoy the collection of inflatables, rock climbing walls, velcro walls and a zip line."

QUESTION: How about the classic car show?

ANSWER: The classic car show definitely will be back – same time, same place and free of charge. Festival organizers encourage festival-goers to "see over 100 beautiful examples of engineering and vintage treasures."

QUESTION: What about barbecue?

ANSWER: Festival organizers have ditched the championship barbecue competition from years past, which means that the respective barbecue teams won't be taking up nearly as much space around downtown. This, of course, also means that there will be no barbecue sample plates available for purchase.

QUESTION: Did someone say steak?

ANSWER:In lieu of the barbecue competition, there will be a steak cook-off, which will be a scaled-down and smaller version of the barbecue competitions from past years.

QUESTION: Can festival-goers buy steak plates and sample the steak?

ANSWER: Unfortunately, the answer is no. Velvet Elvis, The Reel Grill and Buffington's definitely will be selling steaks inside of their respective restaurants that day, however.

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