Photo | facebook.com/RedClayStrays
Band: Fairhope Music Festival
Date: Oct. 29-31
Venue: Halstead Amphitheater, 108 S. School St. (Friday); Weeks Bay Plantation, 12562 Mary Ann Beach Road (Saturday-Sunday), fairhopemusicfestival.com
Tickets: $25-$60 (camping $30-$60), available at the festival website
The Fairhope Music Festival will fill Halloween weekend with sounds from along the Gulf Coast. This ambitious event will bring bands from across the Southeast to the Halstead Amphitheater and Weeks Bay Plantation in Fairhope. However, bringing regional music to the masses is not the only mission of the Fairhope Music Festival.
Festival promoter/local musician John Cochran said this event has a philanthropic edge. Based on the success of his “Live at Five” concert series, Cochran said he was approached by a group of Fairhope citizens about putting together an event that would generate funds for the storm-damaged American Legion Post 199. This beloved locale’s waterside stage has played host to many memorable musical experiences. Cochran said the music, the people and the atmosphere were inspirational enough for him and his group to undertake the festival’s creation.
“The American Legion is a great area in Fairhope that we feel highlights the Fairhope waterline with a view of Mobile Bay,” Cochran said. “It’s also about the veterans who are involved and the condition that they’re in and what it would cost to repair the building. We felt like they needed any help that they could get.”
To avoid having to fly bands into Fairhope, Cochran said obtaining “bands who could do it on wheels” served as a major factor in determining the festival’s lineup. With this in mind, he curated a lineup that exclusively features regional bands. Bands from New Orleans, Nashville and the Mobile Bay area will be traveling to Fairhope to entertain festival-goers. In addition, the festival will feature a number of vendors and trick-or-treating for children on Saturday and Sunday. Along the way, Cochran said, this event has become a “revival of our Southern souls.”
“We got a lot of New Orleans bands and Will Kimbrough and Ross Newell and Telluride and Red Clay Strays,” Cochran said. “We wanted bands who are familiar with our culture down here.”
While holding the festival at two different venues is filled with logistical challenges, Cochran said the exposure to the art, culture and environment makes it all worthwhile. Friday night at Halstead Amphitheater will give the crowd a chance to sample the vibe of the “Live at Five” concert series. Saturday and Sunday at Weeks Bay Plantation will expose newcomers to the beauty of this local farm. Cochran hopes the potential success of the Fairhope Music Festival will result in bigger future events, and he is more than ready to promote future events with a little assistance.
“This is going to be a recurring event,” Cochran said. “Tynes Stringfellow [of Weeks Bay Plantation] and I have put together an LLC just to put on events out at Weeks Bay. We’re looking at a Blues Fest in the spring and all kinds of stuff.”
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