GrassRoots Festival of Music & Dance

Roots in the Schools

roots in the schools


Planting inspiration
through music

Roots in the Schools is our collaborative outreach program aiming to inspire youth through music all throughout the school year. By bringing musicians into schools, we expose youth to local music through performance, classroom presentations, and hands on experience. Our goal is to promote the creative health of children and provide them the opportunity to connect with the inspiring world of music.

Programming through Roots in the Schools is of no cost to the collaborating schools. All programs are funded entirely by GrassRoots. If you are a teacher, student, administrator, or program coordinator at a school or community organization and are interested in seeing Roots in your school, please contact us:


join us!

You can help us to bring live music in to schools and summer camps by making a tax-deductible donation to Roots in the Schools.

Or, send a check to:
Roots in the Schools, c/o GrassRoots Festival
PO Box 941, Trumansburg, NY 14886.


Remembering leslie on her birthday

Trumansburg, NY - March 29, 2017 - The GrassRoots Festival matriarch, Leslie Puryear, had a deep love for both children and for music, and she especially thought it was important that the two co-mingled often. April 2, 2017 is the first birthday we’ll be remembering Leslie, rather than celebrating with her around the kitchen table. So, in her honor, we are highlighting our Roots in the Schools program for the month of April.

“We love this program! It brings us great joy to see children light up when the beats begin. It allows them to have a break from their regular day, and to connect with their music roots,” says program director Lissa Farrell. “Seeds are planted so that children may even grow to become musicians themselves.”

In 2016, about 1,800 kids in twelve different schools, ages 5-18 years old, were impacted by the Roots in the Schools program. There were a wide range of performances throughout the year, including whole-school shows by Samite, Driftwood, and The Blind Spots, to interactive African dance workshops, and an intimate workshop with Hip Hop artist, Eyukaliptus.

In 2017, we’ve already brought the Roots in the Schools program to 1,250 kids in seven schools, and we’re working on more engagements now!

Leslie Puryear was one of the creators and a longtime director of the Finger Lakes GrassRoots Festival. As fate would have it, Leslie passed on the eve of the 26th annual festival, in 2016. Read more about her life here: Leslie Puryear: Organizer, Mentor.

Roots in the Schools was created in 2010 by the Finger Lakes GrassRoots Festival Organization. Program costs are around $300 per performance.