And the music.
Brian Howe, former lead singer of Bad Company, and Bo Bice, a runner-up to Carrie Underwood in Season 4 of the wildly popular ‘American Idol,’ were the headlining acts of this year’s Foothills Festival in Jasper.
The music — coupled with lots of good food and activities centered around kids — drew large crowds throughout the day despite temperatures well into the 90s.
In addition to Howe and Bice, the event also included a wide variety of music, from country acts like Jasper’s Copperline to ‘renegade bluegrass’ band Rollin’ in the Hay and rock and roll acts Within Reason and Lynam.
The day kicked off with the Corner High Theater group performing on the main stage.
“It’s such a great little town. It has a lot of character and I love the downtown area,” Howe said in an interview prior to perfoming. “I might even live here. It’s a cool little place.”
Howe said after years of touring and playing large venues, he loves the smaller concerts like the Foothills Festival.
“It’s a big event,” he said. “I think it’s probably one of the first rock concerts you’ve really had in downtown Jasper in a while, so I’m looking forward to it. There’s a great crowd out there and, well, it’s Alabama, so we know they’re going to go nuts for the music. It’s an honor to be invited to be here.”
Bice said the chance to perform close to home was too good to pass up.
“I’m an Alabama native, so I love Alabama with all my heart and soul. You could throw a stone and hit where I’m from in Helena, so this area is very special to me,” Bice said prior to taking the stage. “We’ve had some great bands here already today, and then I get to go on and warm up the crowd for Bad Company. I don’t think you can get a better night of music than that here in Jasper.”
Bice said the Foothills Festival is a great way to showcase all that’s good about Jasper and Walker County.
“It’s a lot of fun being here,” Bice said. “You’re lucky to have such a great community and the great people who worked so hard to put an event like this together. I think it’s a testament to the city and the folks who care so much about the community that they put on events like this.”
Kevin Callahan of Honda/Hyundai of Jasper, one of four primary sponsors of the festival along with the city of Jasper, said the event was even more successful than he had hoped for.
“I think it’s been fantastic,” he said. “There’s been big crowds all day. It’s been wonderful for Jasper. I think it’s been a good showing for the city. I think everybody’s got to be happy with it.”
In addition to Honda/Hyundai of Jasper, the primary sponsors of the festival were Scott Crump Toyota Scion, Byars and Associates, and the law firm Nelson, Bryan and Jones.
Robbie Dill of Jasper said she loved the day’s events. “It’s great,” she said. “It’s hot out here, but I’ve enjoyed all the stuff that’s out here.”
Kaley Smith said her church, Blackwater Macedonia Church of Christ, had a booth at the festival to evangelize to those on hand. “It’s been really great listening to the music and all the things that are going on. It’s been really fun.”
Brian Brown of Jasper said the festival was all he had hoped it would be.
“It was really fun. I enjoyed all the concerts and all the activities for the kids,” Brown said.
Jasper City Council member Sandi Sudduth said the festival has been a boost for the city, especially the downtown district.
“I think this is a great opportunity for us to begin again with the Foothills Festival,” she said. “It’s been a great day. All the interaction I’ve had with others who are here, and the comments I’ve heard, have been positive, and I think we’ll be able to be bigger and better next year.”