Ruckus raised! Weekly roots music show celebrates 10 years of tunes

The Brooklyn Paper
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This show has deep roots!

A Red Hook music show will celebrate ten years of twangs with a four-day musical extravaganza starting next week. More than 40 veterans of the weekly roots music night will converge on the Jalopy Theatre for the Roots ’n’ Ruckus Fest, starting on Dec. 2. The show’s founder says that over the last decade, the show has become a hub of the city’s music community.

“It’s a scene — people new to town, music geeks, late night howlers, and the spiritually unfulfilled have all found a home here on Wednesdays in one way or another,” said musician Feral Foster, who founded the Roots ’n’ Ruckus night in 2005. The weekly show, which features roots music and a ruckus of other genres, started in Manhattan, but made the leap across the river to Red Hook’s Jalopy Theatre in 2008.

Foster has booked the event’s last 520 weeks by keeping an ear out for new talent, he said, inviting any musician that grabbed his attention — whether they were playing on the street or on a stage — to be a part of the Roots ’n’ Ruckus musical variety act. The four-day festival, which will spill from the Jalopy Theatre stage into the Jalopy Tavern next door, will showcase acts from the entire run of the show.

“It’s just bringing in some of the best this show has been able to host over the last ten years,” said Foster. “A lot of performers who are playing this festival are good at what they do and bring their own unique energy.”

The festival lineup includes a wide variety of musical fares, including Brooklyn Americana fixture Jan Bell, the folk band Spirit Family Reunion, and eclectic performers offering surf, indie rock, jazz, and Greek music.

And the festival is staying true to the spirit of the variety night — instead of buying a ticket, attendees will be asked to throw a few dollars into a hat at the conclusion of each performance, just as they have for the last ten years. The musicians will split the tips at the end of the festival, as per the Roots ’n’ Ruckus tradition.

Foster laughs at the thought of heading Roots ’n’ Ruckus for another ten years, saying that he is not looking that far ahead. Instead, he is just looking forward to showcasing a diverse lineup of musicians, and to packing the Jalopy for the festival.

“It’s a way of cementing all of this energy and history we’ve been making here and trying to celebrate it in the biggest way.”

Roots ’n’ Ruckus Fest at the Jalopy Theater and Jalopy Tavern [315 Columbia St. between Hamilton Avenue and Woodhull Street in Red Hook, (718) 395–3214,]. Dec. 2–5, at various times. Free.

Reach reporter Lauren Gill at or by calling (718) 260–2511.
Updated 10:17 pm, July 9, 2018
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