Druid City Music Festival 2019 Preview: Pulling the Musical Lineup Together Featured

Local band GrAystone will open the main stage at the Druid City Music Festival on Saturday, Aug. 24. GrAystone is (L to R): Judge Scott Donaldson, Kevin Whitaker, Gene “Poodgie” Poole, Duane Lamb, and Tim Wright. Local band GrAystone will open the main stage at the Druid City Music Festival on Saturday, Aug. 24. GrAystone is (L to R): Judge Scott Donaldson, Kevin Whitaker, Gene “Poodgie” Poole, Duane Lamb, and Tim Wright. Tuscaloosa Tourism & Sports

Music festivals draw crowds from all over with lineups of artists performing over several days. Fans of these popular events can get ready for a festival happening right here in town later this year. 

Tuscaloosa will host the Druid City Music Festival Aug. 23-24. To kick it off, Friday night will include 40 different jam bands performing across 20 different venues downtown, with the main event on Saturday in Government Plaza. 

“It’s a collective cool thing that’s going to happen Friday,” said Don Staley, President and CEO of the Tuscaloosa Tourism and Sports Commission, and the architect of the music festival. “We’re going to have everything from bluegrass to rap; we’re at the Bama Theatre; we’re at an art gallery; we’re in different bars and restaurants.” 

Saturday will include a Battle of the Bands that morning at the Tuscaloosa River Market and the main event on stage at Government Plaza that afternoon into the evening, wrapping up with a performance by Big Boi, formerly of Outkast 

“We knew we wanted to have a group that could kick us off, and somebody that also had connections to CityFest, so we brought in GrAystone,” Staley said. GrAystone will open the main stage on Saturday.  

Gene “Poodgie” Poole of Hudson-Poole Fine Jewelers is a member of GrAystone Band. He had the idea for the Battle of the Bands on Saturday that Lance Hocutt of Lance Hocutt Financial Group was able to bring together. Poole was also one of the original architects of CityFest 

“We’ve gotten tremendous compliments over the years about CityFest,” said Poole. “A festival like that brings people together from all over West Alabama. Everybody comes together and has a good time, and you put enough genres of music out there to interest everyone. We did everything you could imagine.” 

Over the last 18 months, Staley has attended other music festivals to get an idea of how they should set up the one here in town. He got ideas from the Pilgrimage Festival in Franklin, Tennessee, Candler Park in Atlanta, and Christmas Jam, put on by Government Mule lead singer Warren Haynes, in Asheville, North Carolina. 

During this time, Staley also worked on recruiting artists to fill the lineup of the festival.  

“We wanted to make sure we had diversity, we wanted to make sure that we had music that the students would like,” he said.  

The Festival falls in between two other big concerts at the Tuscaloosa Amphitheater.  

“We’re calling it a music extravaganza,” said Staley, “where you’ve got Pentatonix, which Red Mountain is bringing in on that Thursday, and then they’ve got Mary J. Blige which is on Sunday; so you’ve got Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday with music in Tuscaloosa. To me, that is just a perfect storm for great tunes for the whole city.” 

Events like this one create incredible opportunities for the businesses in Tuscaloosa as well.  

“One of the things that we’re after with not just bringing people into town and getting college students to come downtown and find out what great things are happening down there,” Staley said.But it’s heads in the beds, it’s retail spend, it’s restaurants.”  

Some of the bands lined up are no strangers to this area. Many have connections to Alabama. Some came from the Black Warrior Songwriter’s Festival. Others have more distant connections, like BJ Reed, who does a Dinah Washington show. She will be performing in the Dinah Washington Cultural Arts Center. Blackberry Smoke lead singer, guitarist, and songwriter Charlie Starr was born in Lanett, in Chambers County.  

Whatever your musical style and preference, with the variety of artists scheduled to perform, everyone can find a performance that fits their tastes. 

“We’re going to have the largest stage that’s ever been set up in the city of Tuscaloosa,” said Poole. “We’ve got a tremendous genre of bands, and I can really see this festival branching out and doing even more. I’m thrilled that in its first year it is as big as it is. CityFest started with a flatbed trailer at the flagpole with one band and progressed from there with big entertainment coming to Tuscaloosa. As Druid City Music Festival grows, we can do that again.” 

To get more information on the Druid City Music Festival, including artist lineup, venue list, and ticket information, visit the festival website at dcmf2019.com.   

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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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