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February 13, 2013

Smith Farms music fest follow up under consideration

CULLMAN — Though the first edition of the Smith Farms Music Festival in 2012 looked like it might have been the last, organizer Rodger Turner may retool the event and give the rock and roll weekend another shot later this year.

Turner’s inaugural event in late May 2012 featured acts such as the Marshall Tucker Band and American Idol winner Taylor Hicks, but failed to attract a substantial crowd. The event was held on the same weekend as county school graduation ceremonies, which could have contributed to the low turnout. Organizers had anticipated several thousand attendees, but final numbers fell well short of those estimates.

After last year Turner said he hadn’t planned on hosting a follow-up in 2013, but was approached by some outside promoters interested in bringing the festival back for a second year.

“We’re looking at it hard now and I’ve had a couple of people approach me wanting to make it bigger than ever,” organizer Rodger Turner said. “It’s not a done deal, but we’re looking at it really hard. I learned a lot from that first one and it’s a lesson I paid for.”

Though last year’s lineup included some regional rock bands and older major acts such as Marshall Tucker, Turner said a resurrected version of the festival would feature more popular rock and country bands.

“That’s really what it hinges on now, because we want to go bigger,” Turner said. “We want bigger acts, and it’d probably be a couple of national acts and some regional acts. We need to see what type of acts we could book first.”

Like last year, Turner said the 2013 edition would be a three-day affair from Thursday-Saturday hosted on the property of the Smith Farms store on U.S. Hwy. 278. But unlike last year, the opening night would have free attendance to build some buzz for the bigger acts on the weekend.

“We’re thinking about having a free night on Thursday, just to get people in to see how much fun it will be,” Turner said. “Then, folks would want to come back on Friday and Saturday.”

Assuming the event comes to fruition, Turner has already been approved for a special event permit by the City of Cullman. The tentative date listed for the festival is June 13-15, approximately two weeks later than last year.

That date is also one week before the City of Cullman’s second annual Rock the South concert at Heritage Park, which will feature acts such as The Band Perry and American Idol winner Scotty McCreery, among others yet to be announced.

* Trent Moore can be reached by e-mail at trentm@cullmantimes.com, or by telephone at 734-2131, ext. 220.

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