Yay! It’s celebration time for The Shoals. The W.C. Handy Music Festival is back, and it’s the 40th annual one. The Shoals area is widely known for being “The Hit Recording Capital of the World” due to the many legendary musicians and bands that have stopped at Fame Recording Studio on Avalon Ave. Apart from the musicians and bands that have visited The Shoals to record, there is one that the City holds dear to their heart given that he was born right in Florence: W.C. Handy—and that’s what the celebration is all about.
The History behind the W.C Handy Music Festival
William Christopher Handy, also known as “Father of Blues”, is a Florence-Born musician who had amazing musical talents. Because of his influence on music, his ultimate passion, he is still celebrated to this day with a ten-day-long music celebration to honor him and keep his name alive. This event is held annually, and includes a ton of music based events for people to attend throughout the Northwest Alabama area. Over the years, this event has gained lots of popularity, and has been selected for the following notable awards and honors:
- Top 10 event in Alabama
- Top 20 event in the Southeast since 1986
- 3x Cultural Olympiad Designee by Atlanta Committee for the Olympic Games
- Location/Destination on the National Geographic Appalachian Regional Commission’s Featured Sites Map
As you can see, this event is kind-of a big deal. Though the event is centered around W.C. Handy and his influence on the blues genre, there will be other varieties of music like rock, gospel, R&B, jazz and pop—something for everyone.
This Year’s 40th Annual W.C. Handy Festival
So, are you ready for this year’s festival!? Here is everything you need to know about the ten-day-long event this year.
This year’s festival will be held July 23rd-August 1st. Below is a brief overview of just some of the events that’ll take place:
- Jazz it Up with your trash – Friday, July 23rd at 10am. Location: Sheffield Library
- Handy Happy Hour– Friday, July 23rd 5-7pm. Location: Swampers, Marriott Shoals
- W.C. Handy Festival Shoals Car and Truck Show– Saturday, July 24th 12-2pm. Location: Wilson Park
- ABC’s of Blues, Jazz and “Before”– Tuesday, July 27th at 1:30pm. Location: Handy Recreation Center
- Handy Musical Night: Fizz at the Clarion- Friday, July 30th 8-11pm. Location: Fizz at the Clarion Bar
This is just a small list of events that will take place during the festival, but be sure to check out the official event page here for the full list and additional information. Brace yourself—There are 21 pages that list out all the options of fun during this event, but when it comes to this festival, the more, the merrier :).