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Adams Ave. Gets Back to Its Roots

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From humble beginnings, the Roots Fest on Adams has become a weekend-long garden of musical activities. This weekend, the a bumper crop arrives during its 38th year.

Among the buds are over 40 local musicians spread out over six stages performing on April 30 and May 1. Plus, for those with a love of the brew, the festival includes two beer gardens as well as many local vendors with goods and food.

For a complete line up of all six stages, click here, but to make things easy, we put together a rundown of the bigger bands:

On Sunday, the Makepeace Brothers perform on the 34th Street Stage with their roots-based power pop. The brothers were raised on Bob Marley and Dylan, the Beatles and Simon and Garfunkel, and have toured with Jason Mraz on his 2008 Music, Magic & Make Peace Tour. (Take a look at the Makepeace Brothers video at Sunset Sessions.)

Local favorite Gregory Page takes part in Lestat's West Song Swap on both nights. Song Swap pairs local artists with other musicians with whom they would not normally play, creating unique duos and trios, etc. This year, the English-born Page teams up with Phil Boroff, Carlos Olmeda, Joe Rathburn, Dave Humphries and Lisa Sanders during various sets (click here to see Page performing at SoundDiego's launch party.)

For a taste of the blues, Robin Henkel is set to string you up at a Lestat's Song Swap with Laurence Lebo and Carols Olmeda on Saturday at 3:30 p.m. He also plays solo on DiMille's Stage Sunday at 4:15 p.m. Henkel's musical resume boasts opening slots for B.B. King, Dizzy Gillespie, Don McLean and many more (here are some pictures of his performance at Lestat's last year).

Sara Petite, a local country artist, finds her roots in artists like Steve Earle. She took home the Best Americana or Country San Diego Music Award in 2009. During Roots Fest, Petite is slated to perform three times. First up is a set Saturday at noon with Sugar Daddies at the 34th Street Stage, then, later that day at 7:15 p.m., she will take the stage in one of the beer gardens. She will return on Sunday at 3:30 p.m.

Tomcat Courtney brings with him a long history of blues; he was born in the South in 1929. Last year, he won the San Diego Music Award for Best Blues; this weekend, he takes his award-winning ways to Adams Avenue on Sunday on DiMille's Stage at 1:15 p.m. and the 34th Street Stage at 5 p.m.

The Town Pants will travel to San Diego from Vancouver, Canada, to share their West Coast Celtic sound. Their roots spread down to traditional Irish music, folk rock and old Americana. You may remember theme performing at the 2010 Winter Olympics in their hometown. Their Roots Fest shows are on the Hawley Stage on Sunday at 6:30 p.m. and the following day at 5 p.m.

Jim Schneider, the executive director of the Adams Avenue Business Association, talked about why this tradition continues.

"The business association hosts this event for three reasons: It's promotion for businesses on Adams, it's a community event that gets people involved, and it's a fundraiser for other projects of the Adams Avenue Business Association," Schneider said.

Another festival highlight this year: The Healing Arts Fest will be putting on its Health and Wellness Exhibitor Fair, workshops about wholesome living and a kids' activity zone.

"We will also raffle off different experiences on Adams Avenue," Schneider said. "We have a date night out with a certificate to a restaurant, pub and a movie theatre. You get to experience the breadth and depth of all the Adams Avenue district has to offer."

Enjoy the festival's wide branches for free starting at 10 a.m. Saturday all the way through Sunday evening.

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