Greening Our Roots


Consuming Roots Fest the Green Way

Showcasing a Climate Smart Roots and Missoula – Strive to be Straw Free

This year, Roots Fest has once again teamed up with Climate Smart Missoula and the City of Missoula to showcase simple actions that leave our festival, community and planet cleaner, safer and healthier. For example, at the end of every night of last year’s festival we picked up hundreds of plastic straws off the ground only to be added to the hundreds more that made it into the trash bins. At best, those straws ended up in the landfill. At worst, they could have ended up in our river and eventually our oceans. According to, 500 million single use plastic straws are used and discarded in the United States. That’s 175 billion a year filtering into our landfills and littering the oceans. That is enough to wrap around the Earth’s circumference 2.5 times each day. We want our festival to positively affect our environment, health and community, and we think our cocktails are still delicious without straws, so we have chosen to eliminate them this year. We are encouraging our food court vendors and downtown neighbors to do the same. This is just one example of how our decisions and simple actions can have big impacts. Please join us in striving for a straw free weekend and beyond.

The River City Roots Festival is Missoula’s signature celebration of the city we live in. Live music, exceptional art, culture, family, fitness and fun abound – and not so coincidentally, so do sustainability initiatives that reduce the carbon footprint of the festival and its attendees. It’s called being CLIMATE SMART. It has been part of Missoula’s DNA for a long time, and it is our commitment hosting this party in a special place for many generations to come. In addition to striving to be straw free, here is what we do and what you can do to celebrate music, community and Missoula in a resourceful and respectful way.

  • How WE are Climate Smart
    • Hosting this event in the urban core means reduced travel distances and more opportunities to bike, walk and bus to Roots Fest.
    • Commemorative Roots Fest cups are intended to be used and reused. Take it home with you as a souvenir and a reminder of the fun you had.
    • As part of the City’s Zero Waste initiative, we are partnering with Republic Services to offer their new All-In-One Recycling service throughout the festival.
    • To further Zero Waste efforts and to nourish those in need, we are partnering with the Missoula Food Bank on food recovery and redistribution.
    • We feature a carbon neutral Main Stage and food court, and offset travel by each band with the purchase of carbon credits.
    • Nearly 300 people volunteer 4-8 hours of their time this weekend to staff Roots Fest, including a Climate Smart ambassador team.

    How YOU can be Climate Smart

    • Bike, walk, bus or carpool to the festival. Mountain Line offers zero-fare service. If you arrive by bicycle, please lock your bike at one of the many bike racks (not trees) throughout Downtown
    • Bring your own water bottle and refill it at the water station under the Missoula Downtown Association tent or in Caras Park. Avoid single use bottled water.
    • Keep recycling contamination down sorting recyclables properly. Only send to the landfill what you must. Chat with the Climate Smart ambassadors for guidance and to answer questions.
    • Interact with vendors about their sustainable practices and encourage their efforts. Purchase local and regional food served with minimizing waste in mind where possible.
    • Visit one of the many Missoula businesses or organizations dedicated to climate action and sustainability showcased throughout the Main Stage, Art Show and Family Fun Fest in Caras Park. Find out what they do and how you can contribute. Educate yourself.
    • Consider powering down your home while at the festival by turning off lights or air conditioning.
    • If you do travel from out of town, bring a friend and carpool. Consider purchasing carbon offsets for your personal travel.


Thanks to GREEN sponsors Mountain Line, NorthWestern Energy, Providence St. Patrick Hospital, and Territorial Landworks, we have resources to minimize our footprint while maximizing fun at this year’s Roots Festival. Roots Fest is intended to showcase sustainability efforts in event planning and beyond. We welcome your ideas and input and hope you have a great time at this year River City Roots Festival.