The fourth annual Kaw River Roots Festival returns to Downtown Lawrence June 21 to 23, 2024. Lawrence, Kansas, known for its vibrant cultural scene and deep-rooted musical heritage, welcomes music enthusiasts from far and wide to the 2024 festival. Set against the picturesque backdrop of the Kaw River, this annual celebration of Americana music once again proves to be a harmonious convergence of talent, community spirit, and artistic expression. 

MoonShroom on stage by John Knepper

From traditional bluegrass and country to blues, gospel, and soul, the 2024 musical offerings span genres and generations, ensuring there will be something for every ear. This year's headliners are Tim O'Brien, a two-time Grammy winner, and local favorite Split Lip Rayfield, performing for the first time since 2019. Kaw River Roots is a celebration of all roots, with over 20 local and regional artists, including:

● Rob Ickes & Trey Hensley
● Arkansauce
● Armchair boogie
● Never Come Down
● Pretend Friend (Twice)
● Wayne Gottstine Band
● Front Porch
● Johnny Mullenax Band
● Unfit Wives
● Deadman Flats
● The Matchsellers
● Moonshroom
● Sky Smeed
● Whiskey Mash
● One Way Traffic
● Shakedown Strings
● Old Sound
● Tonganoxie Split
● Spencer & Raines
● Besty O & The Hollaback Boys
● Artist At Large: Patti Steel

                                 Unfit Wives on stage by John Knepper

The Kaw River Roots Festival has become a hallmark event for Lawrence. It embodies the timeless essence of American roots music while embracing the genre's evolution.

"I'm always very grateful that there's such a cool festival going down in Lawrence, Kansas," said Jake Keegan of MoonShroom. "Lawrence is a great town, and you know, the community really deserves a festival of that caliber." Unlike other music festivals, the Kaw River festival doesn't just blow in and out of town once a year. Kaw River Roots presents various shows throughout the year and builds connections with the bands we bring in.

"I feel like they put a real like, honest effort into treating everybody right," Grant Boesen of Pretend Friend said. Pretend Friend, an Americana jam band, continues to return year after year.

"The festival thing is just part of my job, you know," said Boesen. "Just to be connected with, like, your local community of events of things happening, and Kaw River Roots has been a huge part of our connection to Lawrence and that community."

                             The Matchsellers on stage by John Knepper

But the magic of the Kaw River Roots Festival extends beyond the main stage. Throughout the weekend, attendees are treated to intimate performances on smaller stages, showcasing the wealth of local talent that calls Lawrence home. From impromptu jam sessions to acoustic sets, every corner of the festival is filled with the joy of live music.

In an interview, Lily B Moonflower and Jake Keegan said that even if you aren't a performer at the festival, you should bring your instrument for the parking lot jams.

For the organizers, volunteers, musicians, and attendees who make the festival possible, it's more than just a weekend of music—it's a testament to the enduring spirit of creativity, collaboration, and community that defines Lawrence, Kansas.

Wayne Gottstine of Split Lip Rayfield said that while practicing for the upcoming festival, the band is falling together, sounding just like they did before their hiatus.

                              Kaw River Roots Split Lip Rayfield photo and logo

The band has been building momentum for the last few years and is ready to perform for fans again. "I like to see people having a good time and, you know, especially to our music," said Gottstine. "That's a great feeling when you can make people happy with your music. We just get on the stage and turn into maniacs."

As the stars twinkle overhead and the sound of laughter and applause echo into the night, one thing is abundantly clear: the Kaw River Roots Festival isn't just an event—it's a tradition, a celebration, and a testament to the power of music.

The festival will be held at Abe & Jake’s Landing on Friday, June 21st and Saturday, June 22nd with a special
Bluegrass Brunch at Lucia on Sunday, June 23rd. Tickets and more information available at