Presented by Windsor Art Center in partnership with the Windsor Historical Society in collaboration with the CT Bluegrass Society & others

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September 1, 2024
12 PM - 6 PM

Windsor Town Green

 275 Broad St, Windsor, CT 06095

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CT River and Roots Festival is made possible with support from The Town of Windsor,  Roberts Foundation for the Arts, Euphoria Event Solutions and donations from individuals like you.

Free On The Green: Music, Culture, Food, Story Telling, Crafts & more!

Join us on the Windsor Town Green from 12 PM to 6 PM on Sunday, September 1, for the inaugural CT River and Roots Festival! Headliner Jake Blount, an award-winning interpreter of Black folk music, joins a cast of other roots & folk performers for a day of music, dance, culture, food, crafts, and more! Admission is free, with a suggested donation of $10.

Audience members of all ages are invited to attend, shop at the vendor market, enjoy a diverse array of food trucks, and bring your own picnic blanket to enjoy the phenomenal staged performances.

Donors of $10 and above will be entered into a raffle. Winners will be announced during the event!

Jake Blount 7 (Photo by Tadin Brown)


Headliner: Jake Blount

A powerfully gifted musician and a scholar of Black American music, Jake Blount speaks ardently about the African roots of the banjo and the subtle, yet profound ways African Americans have shaped and defined the amorphous categories of roots music and Americana. His 2020 album Spider Tales (named one of the year’s best albums by NPR and The New Yorker, earned a 5-star review from The Guardian) highlighted the Black and Indigenous histories of popular American folk tunes, as well as revived songs unjustly forgotten in the whitewashing of the canon. Jake Blount’s new album, The New Faith, is a towering achievement of dystopian Afrofuturism and his first album for Smithsonian Folkways (released September 23, 2022). The New Faith is spiritual music, filled with hope for salvation and righteous anger in equal measure. The album manifests our worst fears on the shores of an island in Maine, where Blount enacts an imagined religious ceremony performed by Black refugees after the collapse of global civilization due to catastrophic climate change. Jake Blount’s music is rooted in care and confrontation. On stage, each song he and his band play is chosen for a reason - because it highlights important elements about the stories we tell ourselves of our shared history and our endlessly complicated present moment. The more we learn about where we’ve been, the better equipped we are to face the future. 

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Jennifer Kriesberg

Mother, Singer, Composer, and Teacher - Jennifer (Tuscarora, North Carolina) comes from four generations of Seven Singing Sisters through the maternal line. She is known for fierce vocals, soaring range and lilting, breath-taking harmonies.

Singing since she was a child, she joined the critically acclaimed Native women's Trio ULALI at age 17. Her voice perfectly wove the high strand of Ulali's renowned harmony with incomparable skill and grace for over twenty years. Together, they created a new sound in Indian Country. Jennifer's sharp wit and stage presence infused Ulali’s shows with strong vocals, humor and camaraderie with the audience.

Jennifer is frequently called upon to guest lecture and conduct vocal workshops at universities, schools, in Native communities and at festivals throughout the United States and Canada. She has worked in film and television and has toured with renowned musicians throughout the world.  She has performed at Carnegie Hall, Kennedy Center, and New Orleans Jazz Festival among others. Learn More


Aaron Athey

Aaron Athey is a Mohegan drummer, Sundancer, and Native American prison chaplain. He regularly emcees at powwows around the Northeast.

Tang Sauce & TTQM

Tang Sauce with the TTM is bringing Soul Roots is joining the CT River & Roots Festival! Unlock the power of music, connection, and positivity with Tang Sauce. It's time to immerse yourself in a musical adventure that will leave you inspired and uplifted. Learn More


J.M. Clifford

J.M. Clifford's music blends Bluegrass, Folk, and Americana. His debut album, "On a Saturday Night," was praised by The Bluegrass Situation, Bluegrass Today, and Holler Country. The first single from his upcoming record, "Trains, Thinkin’ and Drinkin’," titled "Complicated Man," was listed in Ear to the Ground Music’s Top 20 songs of 2023.

In 2023, Clifford was an Official Showcase Artist at the IBMA Business Conference in Raleigh, NC. His single "Slow Rolling Train" earned him a spot in the final round of the 2023 Rocky Mountain Songwriting Festival. He also performed at the IBMA Songwriter Showcase in 2022 and 2023. Clifford has toured nationally, opening for Ron Pope in the winter of 2024, and playing at venues and festivals such as The Outpost in North Carolina, The Highlands Bluegrass Festival in New York, and the Thomas Point Beach Bluegrass Festival in Maine. His 2024 Summer Tour includes performances at the Podunk Bluegrass band competition and headlining slots at the Jalopy Theater in Brooklyn, NY, Lilly P's in Cambridge, MA, and Nick-A-Nees in Providence, RI.  Learn More


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Robert Peters is a Mashpee Wampanoag Artist, Poet, and Author. He published his first book “Da Goodie Monsta” in the fall of 2009. He released Thirteen Moons Calendar A Meditation on Indigenous Life in 2015 and again in 2020. “Thirteen Moons” is accompanied by poetry, essays and thoughts - written over a span of twenty years. It was created to promote understanding and healing among indigenous people everywhere.

Robert’s family moved to the Wampanoag home land of Mashpee when he was ten. Here his father Russell entered a life-long battle to regain land and sovereignty for the Mashpee Wampanoag People. As a child, Robert witnessed the 1976 Wampanoag Indian land claim, trial and the tribe’s quest for Federal Recognition. Robert retired from the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority after 24 years of service. During this period, he observed the culture of Boston’s subway system working as a motorman, union steward and at times a civil rights activist on the MBTA’s Orange Line. He drew pictures, took notes and made commentary.

Today Robert continues writing, painting, and working with youth. He is a fire keeper and a keeper of oral tradition.

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Island Reflections Dance Theater

Island Reflections Dance Theatre (IRDT) is a professional dance company led by Artistic Director Stephen D. Hankey. The company is dedicated to the improvement of society through the exploration of diversity and physical movement. The Company continues to flourish and educate the community cross-culturally about Caribbean Folk, Ballet, Modern/Contemporary, African, and other world dance styles. Mr. Hankey’s choreography is an extraction of the African experience with indigenous Indian, European and Asian influences, representative of a microcosm of the social history of the Caribbean and the world at large. The company has performed around the New England area creating partnerships with community-based organizations in various locales. The performances of IRDT beautifully depict stories that pay homage to ancestors and cultures worldwide through dance.

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Mistress of Ceremonies

Calida Jones

Calida N. Jones is an accomplished musician, social justice advocate, entrepreneur, and educator with more than 25 years of experience in performance planning, workshop and curriculum development, volunteerism, project management, and teaching in private and public institutions. Working with arts and cultural organizations across the nation, she has led efforts in advancing equity, diversity, inclusion, and access. She has built and supported several social change music programs both in Connecticut and around the country. Passionate about intentional purposeful teaching and community engagement, her personal mission is to ensure that children with limited resources have access to musical opportunities and activities. She is also deeply committed to correlating the art of teaching to life skills and community building through the lenses of Equity, Diversity, Inclusion, and Accessibility.

Calida previously worked as a Vice President of Planning and Capacity Building at Arts Consulting Group, a national arts consulting firm. She continues to be a regularly-sought after International Speaker, Coach, Violinist, Conductor, and Music Educator. Calida activates her philosophy of community building, inspiration, actionable solutions, and hope through motivational speeches, workshops, and coaching individuals all over the globe. Most notably, she recently had the opportunity to speak to over 500k individuals in Amravati, India. There, she shared the “Impact of Kindness”. A TEDx speaker in San Jose, CA, Calida has had the privilege of speaking at prestigious institutions such as Yale University, Yale School of Music, Duke University, The Connecticut State Capitol, and The Hartt School. She has received numerous honors during her career, including a scholar fellowship at the Aspen Ideas Festival, Elizabeth L. Mahaffey Fellowship, Grammy Music Educator Award nomination, the Connecticut Arts Hero Award for the Waterbury region, and the Father Thomas H. Dwyer Humanitarian Award for her work in Waterbury, Connecticut.

In addition to being the Founder of CNJ Associates, she also recently co-founded an arts ecosystem called Creative Evolutions, a Human-Centered Adaptive Ecosystem that Creatives Actionable Solutions for Creative Individuals and Organizations. Learn More  @cnjassociates

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More Information


Featuring artists, crafters, local goods, food trucks, beer & wine tent, and more! Full Vendor list will be posted closer to the event date!


Getting There

Windsor Train Station is only a few blocks away!


The CT River and Roots Festival presents internationally recognized musicians alongside regional CT performers & storytellers highlighting the origins of our shared cultures and delving into the deep history of roots music.

This inaugural CT River and Roots Festival will feature the internationally recognized and award-winning musician and scholar Jake Blount, who seamlessly merges centuries-old traditional songs with the elements and techniques of modern Black genres. Headliner Jake Blount is an award-winning interpreter of Black folk music, recognized among the best of 2020 by outlets including Bandcamp, The New Yorker, NPR, The Guardian, Rolling Stone, and more.

Hosted on the Town Green under a saddlespan tent, this event will showcase at least five performances, including performances by regional musicians such as Tang Sauce with his band TTQM, performances with the CT Bluegrass Association, and others. Vendors, including artisans, food trucks, and beer and wine tents, will help bring this festival to life.

Engaging storytelling coordinated by the Windsor Historical Society will be interwoven into staged performances. Featured storytellers, vocalists, and drumming, are members of indigenous communities. A pop-up exhibit display will be part of the offerings, connecting this cultural celebration to its historical roots.

As our first annual festival, we aim to grow the CT River and Roots Festival and build a tradition of celebrating cultural richness year after year. We seek to develop a sense of ownership among participants and community stakeholders. We believe in the power of collaboration, adhering to the mentality that “it takes a village.” By fostering strong partnerships that grow and evolve alongside the event, we ensure impact from this event can reach the broadest audience. Central to our strategy for success is uplifting others.

We look forward to seeing you at CT River & Roots Fest!

Pop Up Exhibit


Stop by Windsor Historical Society’s new traveling exhibition, “Bridges and Belonging: Stories of Windsor’s Black History” to learn about the many Black residents, both enslaved and free, that shaped the town’s history over the past 350 years.


Thank you to our supporters for their continued commitment to ensuring that the arts thrive in our community!

We are grateful for the many volunteers, civic organizations, and CT River & Roots Fest planning committee.

CT River & Roots Fest Planning Committee:

Mayela Aguirre

James Burke

Carol Engleman

Jenny Hawran

Renee Lockhart

Xarea Lockhart

Sarah McKay

Terese Newman

Neill Sachdev

Rachel Sayet

Austin Scelzo

Doug Shipman


Town of Windsor

Roberts Foundation for the Arts

Euphoria Event Solutions

Presenting Partners:

Windsor Art Center

Windsor Historical Society


CT Bluegrass Association

First Town Downtown

Win TV

Windsor Art Center's programs and exhibits are made possible in part through the generous support of people like you. Visit our About Us page to learn more about our leadership and supporters. Consider becoming a donor today!

For more information, please email