Find your fest
Music festivals offer live performances in all genres
By Allison Griffin
The music festival season kicks into high gear soon, with multi-day, outdoor events that offer fans a chance to see their favorite acts up close (along with a few hundred or even tens of thousands of their closest friends), often with multiple genres represented in a single weekend.
Start planning and saving up some travel money now; in addition to your travel and lodging costs, some festivals charge upwards of $1,000 for premium packages. Not into the VIP scene? Grab your friends and some sunscreen and get some general admission tickets instead. Or discover some new music at a smaller event that has lower ticket prices.
Note that lineups and ticket information can change, so keep an eye on the official websites for the latest news. Below are some of Alabama’s 2016 events, arranged by date:
Waverly “Old 280” Boogie, Waverly, April 16: This 16th annual event on the grounds of the Standard Deluxe Inc. will feature Lee Bains III and the Glory Fires, Town Mountain, Kim Logan, Susto, Tedo Stone, Pine Hill Haints and BB Palmer. Tickets at the gate are $25; “like” the event’s page on Facebook for more info.
Hangout Music Festival, Gulf Shores, May 20-22: Located directly on the white sandy beaches of the Gulf coast, this unofficial summer kickoff festival will feature two Alabama acts among the headliners: The Alabama Shakes and Jason Isbell, who both received top honors and exposure at the 2016 Grammy Awards. Also on the lineup: Lenny Kravitz, Florence + the Machine, Ellie Goulding, Haim, Cage the Elephant and The Weeknd. General admission tickets are $269, with VIP packages that top $1,000. www.hangoutmusicfest.com
Bluegrass on the Plains, Auburn, May 30-June 5: Expect seven full days of American roots music at the University Station RV Resort on the outskirts of Auburn, along with free workshops, open stage time, performances by Kids on Bluegrass and a Bluegrass Idol competition. Among the scheduled performers are Jerry Douglas and the Earls of Leicester, Rhonda Vincent, Daryl Singletary, Mountain Faith, Balsam Range, Marty Raybon and Doyle Lawson and Quicksilver. Advance tickets start at $15. www.bluegrassontheplains.com
Toadlick Music Festival, Dothan, June 2-4: This outdoor festival on the grounds of the National Peanut Festival features a variety of entertainers in country, rock ’n’ roll and Southern rock. This year’s announced performers include Kid Rock, Alabama, Justin Moore, Daughtry, Aaron Lewis, Clare Dunn, the Charlie Daniels Band, Ashley Monroe, JB and the Moonshine Band and the Eli Young Band. General admission, three-day tickets are $109. www.toadlick.com
Rock the South, Cullman, June 3-4: Originally intended as a one-year celebration of the 2011 tornadoes, the event that highlights food, music and culture has continued with great community support. This year’s event will feature country stars Florida Georgia Line, Thomas Rhett, Cole Swindell, John Michael Montgomery, Kelsea Ballerini, Joe Diffie and Kane Brown and classic rockers .38 Special. General admission, two-day tickets are $79, with platinum and VIP tickets available. www.rockthesouth.com
Sloss Music and Arts Festival, Birmingham, July 16-17: Billed as a music and lifestyle event at the Sloss Furnaces National Historic Landmark, this event offers more than 30 music acts along with demonstrations of hands-on iron pouring, an exhibit of poster makers by the American Poster Institute and arts vendors. Among the acts to perform are Ryan Adams, Death Cab for Cutie, Ray Lamontagne, The Flaming Lips and Ben Harper and the Innocent Criminals. General admission two-day passes start at $125. www.slossfest.com
DegaJam, Talladega: This event at the Talladega Superspeedway, originally set for July 1-3, was to feature country stars Eric Church, Toby Keith and Blake Shelton, among others. The Anniston Star reports that the festival was canceled for business reasons; the website is offering refunds to fans who had already purchased tickets.
BayFest, Mobile: The 2015 event in downtown Mobile, which entertained fans for 20 years, was canceled just weeks before the Oct. 2-4 date. The festival founder cited financial concerns, according to al.com. Similar city-sponsored events, including Birmingham’s City Stages and Montgomery’s Jubilee CityFest, also ended their runs in the last few years, also due to money woes.
Out of state
If you don’t mind driving a bit, several festivals in neighboring states feature big-name acts and will no doubt draw big-time crowds:
Shaky Knees, Atlanta, May 13-15: Jane’s Addiction, Florence + the Machine, My Morning Jacket, The Decemberists, Huey Lewis and the News and Alabama natives St. Paul and the Broken Bones headline this festival in Centennial Olympic Park. Its sister event, Shaky Boots, is on hiatus this year. Single-day tickets start at $97. www.shakykneesfestival.com
Bonnaroo, June 9-12, Manchester, Tenn.: Pearl Jam, Dead and Company, Jason Isbell, J. Cole, Ellie Goulding, Macklemore and Ryan Lewis, Grace Potter and Sam Hunt are among the many acts this year. General admission starts at $349.50. www.bonnaroo.com
Gulf Coast Jam, Panama City Beach, Fla., Sept. 2-4: Billed as “country on the coast,” this event will feature Eric Church, Brad Paisley, Jake Owen, The Band Perry and Southern rockers Lynyrd Skynyrd. General admission tickets are $129. www.gulfcoastjam.com