A Festival! Everyone Loves A Festival, Right?

For the last couple of years, I’ve been thinking that Wetumpka, downtown Wetumpka specifically, would be a great place to have some sort of music/arts festival. Something that would be sort of like Montgomery’s Jubilee Cityfest or Birmingham’s City Stages, just smaller. And maybe even better.

The last time I went to Jubilee was a few years ago and that was to see only one band, the Zac Brown Band. So I paid the $25 for a ticket, watched the hour or so long show and left before Foghat went on.

Not that there’s anything wrong with Foghat. Or L.L. Cool J. or Hinder or The Lost Trailers. My favorite times at Jubilee in years past were spent watching performers like Sunpie Barnes and the Louisiana Sunspots, pre-hit single fame Zac Brown Band, and Beth Nielsen Chapman. How cool would it be to be able to say you saw the next band that’s destined to make it big but hasn’t yet right here in Wetumpka? I always preferred the artists that you don’t get to hear on the radio a million times a day and see on the cover of every entertainment magazine at the bookstore.

There’s just a certain…I don’t know…atmosphere that seems to be missing these days from the festivals I mentioned. Or maybe it’s just me. Either way, I think our city is a wonderful place for a new festival of some sort to be born.

With as many outdoors enthusiasts as we have and with our resources, my initial thought would be for it to revolve around some of these activities, existing or new. We’ve got mountain bikers, road bikers, whitewater for kayaking and canoeing, boat races, road races for runners. There’s no reason I can think of that would prevent us, whoever us is, from tying some of these things together and turning them into one big weekend event, lining up some good regional talent with maybe one “headliner” and just having a big time!

Think of it: downtown Wetumpka from Gold Star Park on down toward Company Street lined with food vendors, artists of all kind showing and selling their wares, with maybe three or four stages of music. I had the opportunity one evening to spend a few minutes at Coosa River Adventures with Chris and Therese and about 25 or so others while a guy with a guitar played and sang. It was a great atmosphere for a hot, summer Friday night. An artist doesn’t have to be famous to be entertaining. Many of us have heard extremely talented, entertaining bands and musicians that we’d not heard before or maybe even heard of at all. Incorporate a 5k or a bike race or both and you’ve got a party on your hands!

Maybe it’s a pipe dream but I just think that with all of our resources that Wetumpka is a prime spot for a festival that is different than anything else going in the River Region. I mean, who would have thought five years ago that our first Mardi Gras celebration would be such a hit in its first year. Shannon Fontaine and all of his people did a great job in putting it together and the people came out. It will only get better every year. Enlist some of the same people who made that happen and we could have a bang-up event that brings people in and shows off our wonderful, beautiful little city. Just my thoughts. What are yours? Anyone interested?

5 thoughts on “A Festival! Everyone Loves A Festival, Right?

Add yours

  1. Thad,I think it is a great idea. I worked at Jubilee Cityfest for 4 years so I would be very interested in being involved. I would also love to see a 5K incorporated or even a triatholon. Wetumpka would be a great place for a music festival. Keep me posted on your thoughts. Tiffany R

  2. The atmosphere at most of the festivals has changed because there is so much drinking going on. It used to be “family fun”, but now you gotta watch out for drunken idiots running your children over. Maybe Wetumpka’s could be a little more family friendly!

  3. I hate to mention this because I’m sure that it will automatically make at least 4 of our council people oppose it, but I heard our mayor talking about this same thing last week…let’s do it in spite of the anti-politicians. The party would be more fun without them anyway.

  4. What about having it as the “blow out” following the week of brown bag concerts? Might be a good thing since most people know about the daily concerts anyway.Genie W

  5. It sounds like an expansion of Riverfest, which is a good idea. It’s an existing part of our community. You already have the vendors and artist set up. All you would need is about three to four stages which I’m sure some of our local banks and businesses would love to sponsor. There are several local bands that I think would love to perform. We also have bands from the area that have made it big like “Rush of Fools”. I say you have one large main stage at Goldstar and then two slightly smaller stages at the old courthouse and the parking lot by Ms. Mary’s and have vendors not only at the river and around the courthouse, but all along the downtown area to promote and stimulate the downtown businesses. I think that would be great.

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