Landing Party 

Taking a plunge into the Big Muddy Blues & Roots Festival

It's Labor Day weekend, and with the extra day off from the workweek, we have to try to get in as much outdoor activity as we can before winter sets in. That's right — summer vacation is over. It's time to get back to work or school, and soon the sun will be setting before you get to punch out at the end of the day. There are a few last hurrahs this weekend, and one of the biggest is the Big Muddy Blues & Roots Festival, down on Laclede's Landing. The festival, featuring more than 20 bands, lasts three days, with concerts on four outdoor stages, and admission is free. The stages are located at the corners of First and Lucas, Second and Lucas, Second and Morgan and Clamorgan Alley. The opening act on Friday, Sept. 3, is the Soulard Blues Band at 7:30 p.m., followed by Ronnie Dawson at 9 p.m. The first concerts on Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 4 and 5, begin at 2 p.m., and the last shows start at 8:30 p.m.; in the interim, shows begin about every hour, on the hour, on one stage or another. The big names of the weekend include John Mooney (8:30 p.m. Sat.), Shemekia Copeland (3 p.m. Sun.) and Victor Wooten (5:30 p.m. Sun.).

Most of the restaurants on the Landing will have booths on the street for tastes of riverside cuisine, so you can stroll from stage to stage, enjoying the blues while sucking the heads of some crawdaddies. Though you might like to wash down the blues with a few of our local brews, don't forget that city ordinances prohibit bringing bottles and cans to the Landing and that St. Louis' finest will certainly be out in force to make sure that these rules are followed.

There's plenty of parking on the Landing, but save yourself the drive (and the cobblestone wear on your suspension) and take MetroLink to the Laclede's Landing stop — the trains will be running until well after the last concerts end.

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