Good move to curb Foothills Festival
by Jack McNeely
Jul 14, 2013 | 1001 views | 0 0 comments | 41 41 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Jack McNeely
Jack McNeely
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When the City of Jasper announced earlier this year that it would engage downtown merchants and regional folks with a series of events this year, you did not have to look at the proposed event schedule too long to see that a resurrected Foothills Festival would be the premier event.

At first, the festival was slated in late spring, but organizers quickly realized they had little time to plan a weekend-long festival for downtown Jasper. So it was moved to the fall.

To quell the concern that football in the south would dampen the attendance, organizers targeted the weekend of Sept 6-8. At least defending national champion Alabama had a bye week that Saturday.

And only a couple weeks ago, people were beginning to bemoan the festival idea, especially following the successful Rock The South music festival held June 21-22 in neighboring Cullman.

And who could blame them. With less than two months before the big weekend here, no concrete music lineup had been announced. And local businesses being asked to sponsor the weekend event were growing restless.

I was ready to opine that city officials should back up and punt; scratch the Foothills Festival altogether and concentrate on securing headliner bands for next year. I believe many people feared a flop in downtown Jasper.

Today, however, I am excited that city planners realized that time had run out on a weekend-long event and decided to curb a multi-stage event down to a one-day, one-stage festival.

The Foothills Festival will be held from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 7, in downtown Jasper. And the best part for folks around our region, admission is free.

Bo Bice, who finished second to Carrie Underwood in the fourth season of “American Idol,” will take the stage from 8-9 p.m., followed at 9:30 p.m. by Brian Howe, former lead singer for the popular 1980s southern rock band Bad Company.

At 4 p.m., Within Reason, a Birmingham-based rock band, will take the stage. They actually walked the red carpet at this year’s Grammy Awards.

Other bands scheduled for the Foothills Festival, include the Corner High School Theater Academy at 11:30 a.m., southern bluegrass band Rolling in the Hay at 1 p.m., Jasper’s Copperline at 2:30 p.m., local children at 5 p.m. and Birmingham-based rock band Lynam at 6:30 p.m.

I believe curbing the Foothills Festival is a great idea, especially in the 11th hour of planning. Perhaps a successful one-day event will lead to a successful weekend event next year.

See you at the Foothills Festival.

CLARIFICATION – Last week I erroneously reported that voters approved a 1-cent sales tax hike in the City of Jasper when, in fact, the city council approved the increase in January.

Jack McNeely is publisher of the Daily Mountain Eagle and can be contacted by phone at 205-221-2840 or via email at jack.mcneely@mountaineagle.com.