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Blame My Roots Festival wraps up with rockin’ performances

Co-founder says second year exceeded his expectations

(Photo by Shelley Hanson) Amy Madison, right, of Martins Ferry smiles while dancing at the busker stage with her friend Kayley Wharton, left, on Saturday at the Blame My Roots Festival.

BELMONT — The final day of the Blame My Roots Festival featured a rocking performance by headliner Miranda Lambert on Saturday night.

Before Lambert played, other acts took the stage including Lee Brice, Tenille Townes, Niko Moon and Allie Colleen.

Festival co-founder Chris Dutton said they knew Lambert would be a draw for the festival only in its second year, but other aspects of the event also changed.

They added a VIP area that provided people with extra amenities including more access to drinks and different foods. The festival also had more food vendors for general ticket holders this year.

Dutton estimated the crowd was four times as large as the first year of the festival, in 2019. There was no BMRF in 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“This is only our second time doing this — not bad for our second time,” he said. “I think we’ve exceeded even our own expectations.”

Since the festival is so new it was the first time attending the event for many. Centerville resident Ruth Barker and her friend Peggy Joseph of Zanesville decided to come check out the festival and its famous headliner.

“I came to see Miranda Lambert,” Joseph said. “I love everything about her. She is … a rebel and that’s what we are.”

Martins Ferry residents Kayley Wharton and Amy Madison came to see their partners perform on the busker stage as part of the Matt VanFossen band. Wharton’s husband, Jake Wharton, was performing, and Madison’s fiance, Scott LaRue, also was playing.

Meanwhile inside the main stage area Tiffany and Justin Flowers were enjoying the music and atmosphere of the festival. Tiffany Flowers said they previously attended the now-defunct Jamboree In The Hills together in the past.

“We met at Jamboree three years ago last night,” she said of the anniversary.

Tiffany Flowers added she was looking forward to seeing Lee Brice perform.

Springfield residents Allison Drain brought her daughter, Abby Drain, 14, to the concert to celebrate her birthday, which was Saturday.

“It’s her first concert,” Allison Drain noted.

The mother-daughter duo added they enjoyed seeing Niko Moon perform. Abby Drain said country is her favorite kind of music and she would like to attend more country music festivals.

Meanwhile, the festival’s medical tent, sponsored by East Ohio Regional Hospital and Panhandle Cleaning and Restoration, had been mostly quiet during the festival. Nurse Practitioner Brittany Rusnak said people mostly needed bandages and antacids. She noted they had the personnel and equipment to treat more serious medical needs, and ambulances to transport people to the emergency room if necessary.

Also working the medical tent was Dr. Tim Genetta, who noted the lack of hot weather likely contributed to fewer people needing treatment. He also believes patrons not being permitted to bring in their own alcohol also helped result in fewer patients.

Festival-goers had the option of purchasing beer inside the venue and many tailgated beforehand.

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