DCMF 2019: Organizers Overcome Challenges and Prep for the Inaugural Music Festival Featured

23 Jul 2019 Brandie Bowden
Tuscaloosa Tourism and Sports President and CEO Don Staley meeting with TTS Graphic Design and Digital Media Specialist Danny Owen about the upcoming Druid City Music Festival. Tuscaloosa Tourism and Sports President and CEO Don Staley meeting with TTS Graphic Design and Digital Media Specialist Danny Owen about the upcoming Druid City Music Festival. Tuscaloosa Tourism and Sports

With less than two months until the Druid City Music Festival, and more than half of the tickets already moved, the cranks continue to turn to get everything lined up to make the event a success and a positive experience for everyone involved. After more than 18 months of planning, Don Staley and his team continue to work out details of the event, jumping any hurdles that appear along the way. 

“There are not a lot of challenges,” said Staley, President and CEO of Tuscaloosa Tourism and Sports, and the architect of the music festival. “In the event business, you roll with the punches, and if Plan A doesn’t work, you go to Plan B, C, or D, and one way or another you’ve got to get it to work out. That’s where we are now in the project.” 

One of the bands lined up for Friday night recently got called out on tour, which meant they would not be available for the music festival here in town. But the planning team kept right on moving. 

“We have a waiting list,” said Staley, “so we reached out to another band who are going to be incredible.” 

Up to this point, Staley has focused on promoting the event, locking down bands, and securing sponsorships. This created a solid foundation on which to base everything else. 

“We’re in the stretch run on sponsorships where there are not a lot of those left,” Staley said. “My focus now has been geared toward turning our attention to the operational part, the nuts and bolts.” 

As one of the original architects of Cityfest, Gene “Poodgie” Poole of Hudson-Poole Fine Jewelers has lent his knowledge and experience to help bring this music festival to fruition. Everyone’s contributions and efforts are paying off. 

“Right off the bat, with the sponsorships that we’ve been able to acquire from the Tourism and Sports Commission,” said Poole, “we’re going to have the largest stage that’s ever been set up in the city of Tuscaloosa in Government Plaza.” 

This doesn’t mean there haven’t been challenges for Staley’s team to work through. One challenge they overcame early in the planning process revolved around the date of the event, originally planned for May of this year. When considering the Bicentennial Commission had a major concert scheduled at the Tuscaloosa Amphitheater in March, the events seemed too close together to complement each other. The team started considering other times of the year and settled on the current dates of August 23 and 24.  

“Even though it’ll be extremely hot,” said Staley, “this would be an incredible sweet spot for coming off Rush and before the first football game. We felt like this would be a great opportunity to welcome back the students. And if longevity takes place with this event in the future it may actually be the absolute perfect time to do this every year.”  

Wristbands gain the wearer entry into any of the Friday-night venues as well as the big show on Saturday and other venues at Government Plaza. Currently, these are available through Ticketmaster. Upon purchase, Ticketmaster will send order confirmation via email, followed by the wristbands in the mail. Anyone without a wristband wanting to enter a venue during the music festival will have to pay a pre-established cover charge for that location. 

“I can really see this festival branching out and doing even more,” said Poole. “Being the first year, I’m thrilled that it is as big as it is. As the Druid City Music Festival grows, we can bring big entertainment to Tuscaloosa and that’s what really thrills me.” 

“If I‘m from outside the area,” said Staley, “and I want to come listen to incredible music, have some great food, and enjoy the vibe in a community, I think we’ve got it all. You’re going to have specials in restaurants, discounts in shopping, the music itself, it’s all tying in together nicely.” 

Wristbands will be available through Ticketmaster until two weeks prior to the event. After that, any remaining available wristbands can be purchased at designated areas around Tuscaloosa. Visit the Druid City Music Festival website at dcmf2019.com for more information. 

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Druid City Living (DCL) is Tuscaloosa, Alabama's premier community newspaper, covering the great people, places and activities of the area.



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