By Trent Moore
The Cullman Times
Though the city isn’t technically hosting Rock the South this year, its still putting up some funds to help promote the massive two-day music festival.
The City of Cullman has appropriated $150,000 to Cullman City Parks and Recreation to “promote tourism” in the area, which the park board has used to contract with Rock the South, LLC for promotional services related to the event.
“Used for that purpose, I believe it’s a great way to promote tourism and I hope everything continues to go well,” council president Garlan Gudger, Jr. said.
The city hosted and organized last year’s festival, but has handed the reins to the newly-formed Rock the South, LLC and Premier Productions this year.
“They’ve proven themselves an outfit that can put on a quality production, and we have every confidence they’ll bring a good show to town,” city parks board chairman Rusty Turner said.
The festival will now be hosted by country artist Sara Evans, and officials hope her involvement and support can turn the burgeoning festival into a major player in the country music scene.
Rock the South was born as a one-day event last April to commemorate rebuilding from the 2011 tornadoes that crippled the area. The festival attracted more than 15,000 in attendance, after which Evans got involved and expanded the event to two-days.
Set for June 21-22 at Heritage Park, city parks director John Hunt said he believes the second edition of the event could be the start of a major economic boon for the county.
“We want to do everything we can to make sure it’s successful, because this could bring in millions of dollars to the community,” Hunt said. “This is the amount the city felt it could give to help ensure the event is successful.”
Though the city isn’t hosting the festival, local government will still be involved on the peripheral. Local police will provide some security, the event will be hosted at the city’s Heritage Park, and the parks department will also help coordinate parking during the event.
Turner said there are still a lot of plans to be made, but he feels the project is in a good position to be a major success.
“We’ve already had some preliminary discussions with EMA, the fire department, police and the street department, just trying to get all our ducks in a row,” Turner said. “It’s similar to last year, but across two different days, so it will take a lot of resources. But I truly think it will be a great event that will bring a lot of people to Cullman.”
Rock the South 2013 will feature The Band Perry, Sara Evans, American Idol winner Scotty McCreery, Hank Williams, Jr., Gregg Allman and Jamey Johnson. Ticket prices will range from $30 for one-day general admission all the way up to $169 for a weekend VIP pass. Tickets go on sale Friday at RocktheSouth.com and select physical locations.
*Trent Moore can be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org, or by telephone at 734-2131, ext. 220.