PAOLA – Vintage Trouble absolutely owned the stage, closing out the 28th annual Roots Festival to the delight of thousands Saturday evening.

Ty Taylor even jumped from the stage and onto the fence, standing up high to look out over the crowd.

It was one of the most rocking sets in the history of the festival.

Vintage Trouble had everyone up front waving their arms and dancing the night away on the beautiful Paola Park Square.

The festival began in 1989 as a potluck barbecue at Wallace Park with a reunion of several families in Paola. It grew into a reunion for the entire town.

Paola wanted everyone to come celebrate with them for two days every August with the East Central Barbecue Championship and some great musicians featuring everything from bluegrass to country, blues and jazz to good old rock and roll.

“It is good to see everyone having a good time at the 2017 Roots Festival,” organizer Gary Patillo said. “We want to keep this festival going, and it takes a lot of volunteers to make this happen.

“We started out as a potluck picnic,” he said. “We decided we wanted to keep this thing going, and we added music when we moved it to the Paola Park Square. I am proud of it, Lee is proud of it, and we are proud of our town.”

Lee Mott, a longtime Roots Festival volunteer, has lined up the bands and been the sound man for the festival for years.

Mott paid special tribute to two men who mean everything to the Roots Festival.

The Blue Moon All-Stars take the stage each year to honor the memory of Peter Hasselquist, who performed at the Roots Festival as a one-man band.

The Roots Festival family lost one of its great supporters and volunteers with the passing of Scott Prothe.

“I look out on this beautiful day and know we have Scott to thank for this,” he said. “I miss you buddy. But, I know you are still here with us.”

“Peter Hasselquist auditioned for me at his house,” Mott said. “He had a band in a box with his keyboard. I was back out at his house this week (as a volunteer firefighter) and there was three feet of water in the house.

The festival remains a huge Paola family reunion.

One of those coming home Saturday afternoon was Christopher Burnett, a 1974 graduate of Paola High School.

Burnett is never far from home or the music he loves.

The Paola High School graduate now lives in Kansas City, Mo. and has been a regular at the Roots Festival since 2002.

The Christopher Burnett Quintet played one relaxing jazz piece after another during their hour-long set.

Burnett, an accomplished jazz man on the alto saxophone, is a musician, conductor, producer, arranger and composer. He played for the United States Army band.

One of the highlights of his performance was a special guest as Burnett played side-by-side with former Army roommate and friend Marcus Hampton, a relative of the jazz legend Lionel Hampton. Burnett and Hampton were roommates while stationed in Germany.

“Thanks for having us, Paola,” Burnett said. “It is good to be back home. I want to give special thanks to Gary and Lee.”

Burnett went from the stage to the class of 1974 barbecue tent, celebrating the evening with family and friends.

Larry Boehm returned to the Roots Festival stage. He performed 19 years ago with a band playing at the gazebo the first year music was introduced to the festival. Boehm has performed on the stage with several bands since then.

He took the stage Saturday afternoon with Sound of Mind, featuring Tony Trabucco on drums and vocals, Ed Obermeier on bass and singer and songwriter Ray Williams on guitar.

The band played some original songs and great covers from the legends like the Beatles and Pink Floyd.

Another local boy coming home for the festival was another one-man band musician, Brody Buster.

He rocked it on stage, playing the guitar, harmonica and the drums. It was an incredible act to see. Buster, who grew up in Paola, has performed with the likes of B.B. King and Quincy Jones.

Paul Thorn paid tribute to his father, a preacher, and his uncle with the song “Pimps and Preachers,” cut from an album with the same name.

“Think about those who taught you what you learned and give them a hug,” Thorn said.

Thorn hails from Tupelo, Miss., home of rock and roll legend Elvis Presley.

John Brown Boys was a musical journey of bluegrass at its finest as the band made its Roots Festival debut Friday evening.

Stoney LaRue, from Oklahoma, drew a huge following. He is the Renaissance rocker, going from Red Dirt Country Rock to the power ballad, leaving the crowd hanging on every note.

Also performing in the Roots Festival were Amy Helm, The Nightowls, Amanda Fish, The Basement Band, Free Range Chicken and Jazzercise Paola Fitness.

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