By Trent Moore
The Cullman Times
If the pop country line-up at the city-sponsored Rock The South doesn’t rock quite hard enough for your tastes, the Smith Farms Music Festival hopes to have you covered.
Set for May 24-26, the three-day concert festival is slated to include country and alt-rock stalwarts such as the Marshall Tucker Band, former American Idol contestant Taylor Hicks, Rolling In The Hay, Velcro Pygmies, Wayne Mills Band, Alabama Music Hall of Fame musician Scott Boyer, The Ugli Stick, Flannel, Sounds Like Trouble, Caddle, legendary studio musician Kelvin Lee Holly and more acts yet to be announced. Some general entertainers are also on the bill, including Tonya Watts, a musician and former film body double for Pamela Anderson. A backyard BBQ cook-off is also planned.
The event will be hosted on the property beside and behind the Smith Farms store at 1825 4th Street SW in Cullman. Parking will be on adjacent property and lots, and shuttles will be provided for parking in the city.
A three-day pass will be available online for $40, and day passes will sell in advance for $20. VIP three-day tickets will also be sold for $100, including special parking, seating and drink vouchers. Tickets are on sale now at the event’s Facebook page, and will soon be available at the Smith Farms store, and other locations to be announced. Tickets will also be available at the gate for a $5 mark-up.
Birmingham Budweiser is a main sponsor for the event, which will feature beer sales, along with food and craft vendors. Smith Farms owner and event organizer Rodger Turner likened the set-up to the Schaeffer Eye Center Crawfish Boil in Birmingham, which has grown into a popular music festival for the city.
Turner has also teamed up with local charities and agencies such as the Cullman County Student Investment Foundation, the Cullman Quarterback Club, the Wallace State Alumni Association and the Cullman County Bama Club to support with a portion of the revenues from the festival.
Turner said he hopes the eclectic line-up will be a hit with visitors, and keep crowds flowing in throughout the multi-day event.
“This is going to be a three-day event, and part of that is bringing in some bands that appeal to the college age, the younger folks between 18-35 years old,” he said. “If we don’t do some things to keep them entertained, and draw them in, Cullman is going to die on the vine. This could be a big event, and keep the hotels full and folks coming through.”
Though the just-announced city-sponsored Rock the South festival — featuring hit country artists Dierks Bentley and Kellie Pickler — has gotten most of the attention lately, Turner said his event has actually been in the works for more than six months. Turner organized the popular biergarten at Cullman Oktoberfest 2011, and said he quickly realized there was a local audience for events featuring live music and beer sales.
“We’ve actually been working on this since October 2011, and it’s just ballooned from there,” he said. “After Oktoberfest, and the response, I learned a lot of things doing that, and I saw where there were a lot of things I could have done differently. I got to thinking about it, and next thing I knew we had a team together.”
Despite the pressure of launching a first-year event, Turner said he’s making every effort to ensure it is a top-notch experience for those who came out.
“It’s going to be big, and we have a great stage and lighting production lined up, it’s actually the same stage they use at Talladega for events there,” he said. “There will also be jumbo-tron big screens on each side of the stage. This is going to be an event we can be proud of.”
With no presale ticket numbers available, it’s tough to estimate how many people the event could bring in over a three-day period. But, Turner says he hopes for at least 20,000 to pass through, and possibly many more if the weather cooperates and the event generates some positive buzz.
“I’m thinking we’ll have a whole lot of people,” he said. “It will definitely bring some money and tax dollars into this community, and if it turns out to be really big, think of the impact that can have for the city.”
* Trent Moore can be reached by e-mail at email@example.com, or by telephone at 734-2131, ext. 220.