W.C. Handy Festival - July 17-26, 2015
In its 34th year, the Handy Festival likes to keep things fresh and interesting; more than 15 new events have been added along with 27 new venues. From Red Bay and Russellville to Rogersville and of course the Shoals, festival-goers have their choice of the air-conditioned Gallery at the Florence-Lauderdale Tourism Visitor's Center or a warm summer breeze viewing the beautiful fields at the Bluewater Creek Polo Club listening to Microwave Dave.
Here's a sampling of what's "New To Do"! On July 17, 18, 24 and 25, Tourism's Visitors Center in Florence hosts the Swamp Fest 2015 Songwriter's Series presenting various musical themes. There are several concerts benefiting the Alabama Music Hall of Fame: at 8:30 p.m. on Festival kick-off night July 17, join Rock & Soul at The Shoals (Theatre) featuring Travis Wammack, Christine Ohlman (ofSaturday Night Live fame), Donnie Fritts, Kelvin Holly, Will McFarlane, Jerry Phillips, Wayne Chaney, and opening band, The Local Saints; Monday, July 20, the Muscle Shoals Allstars are stopping off on their way to Lincoln Center, NY with a bevy of well-known singers and musicians to blow the roof off of the Marriott Shoals Conference Center at 7:30 p.m.; and, stop by the Alabama Music Hall of Fame on July 21 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. and tap your toes to the Cadillacs. The Shoals Scholar Dollars Silent/Live Auction with music from the Wildwood Ruminators will be held at the Marriott Shoals Conference Center on July 18 starting at 4pm. The Dempsey Foundation of Red Bay Hospital has a silent auction, dinner and jazz with Ferris, York and Sledge at 6:30 p.m. on July 24 in the Weatherford Center, Red Bay. How about an Evening of Indian Classical Music featuring Ustad Shafaat Khan and Coco Bastien at the Robert M. Guillot University Center on the UNA campus, July 24 at 7 p.m.? Close out the Festival with us on Sunday, July 26 at 6 p.m at The Gospel of Percy Sledge, a tribute to Mr. Sledge held in Leighton at the Galilee Missionary Baptist Church; featuring Howell "Flipper" Sledge, Renewed, Rev. Jerry Reeves & the Galilee Church Choir, the Orr Sisters, Gospel Harmoneers and Christine Ohlman.
For a complete schedule of events, visit the Florence-Lauderdale Tourism Office & Visitor Center located in McFarland Park. For those who have asked about t-shirts, posters, previous years' memorabilia and concert tickets, they will all be available at Handy Headquarters, which opens July 13. Handy Headquarters Hours of Operation are: 10am-6pm July 13-16; and 10am-10pm Monday through Saturday starting July 17th through July 24. Headquarters will close at 6pm on Saturday, July 25th for the headliner concert. On Sundays, the hours are noon-4pm. Handy Headquarters is located in the Kennedy-Douglass Center for the Arts Annex at 217 East Tuscaloosa Street in Florence. If you have any questions, please call Headquarters at 256-766-7642. An up-to-the-minute schedule can be found on the event web site: http://www.wchandymusicfestival.org
The award-winning W. C. Handy Music Festival has been held each year since 1982 and has been recognized, among other honors, as: