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From the Video Archives:

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Music Festival History

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Father of the Blues

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Handy's First Music Teacher

Welcome to the official website of the
W.C. Handy Music Festival!

Next year's Festival will be held July 22nd through 31st 2016!
Don't Miss It! Make Plans Now!

2015 W.C. Handy Festival offcial dates were July 17-26.

See our events calendar for the 2015 schedule which included over three hundred events held in ten cities and three counties throughout northwest Alabama. The W.C. Handy Festival is much more than just music. There is something for everyone including:

The DaDooRunRun 5K marathon! A Tri-State Bike Ride through Alabama, Mississippi, and Tennessee! Trolley Tours! Exhibits! Plays! Car, Truck, and Bike Shows! Music History!

And the best music performed in the place once known as the "Hit Recording Capital of the World"

The Music Preservation Society, Inc. proudly presents its annual ten-day series of events designed to preserve, promote, and present the music of northwest Alabama (also known as the "Shoals" area). The W.C. Handy Music Festival was named in honor of William Christopher Handy, the "Father of the Blues", who was born in 1873 in Florence, Alabama. The award-winning W. C. Handy Music Festival has been held each year since 1982 and has been recognized, among other honors, as:

  • The Alabama Department of Tourism Top 10 Event
  • Southeast Tourism Society Top 20 Event for July, August, September
  • Geo-tourism Map Guide to Appalachia Featured Site
  • Top 100 American Bus Association Event in North America

Two of the Shoals area's greatest assets are our rich musical heritage, and the natural beauty that surrounds us. Keeping outdoor events litter free allows us to showcase both of these assets. The objective of the N Harmony with Nature initiative, launched during the 2011 W. C. Handy Music Festival, was to promote environmental stewardship by reducing litter and waste, and emphasize the value of recycling. The initiative was a tremendous success and was designated as the top project for Northwest Alabama Resource, Conservation and Development Council (RC&D) and for the State of Alabama.

Our goal is to build on the success of the previous W. C. Handy Music Festivals by promoting the reduction of litter and waste, not only for our outdoor events, but also for indoor events. We are asking all of our Festival attendees, including members of our community, and visitors to our area, to help us in our efforts by disposing trash in the marked bins that will be provided at most events.

For more information about N Harmony with Nature, visit


Each ton of recycled paper can save 17 trees, 38 gallons of oil, three cubic yards of landfill space, 4,000 kilowatts of energy, and 7,000 gallons of water!


About the 2015 W. C. Handy Music Festival Design

May 29, 2015 - The Music Preservation Society, Inc. is delighted to announce that talented local artist Carl Brackin submitted the winning design for the 2015 W.C. Handy Music Festival. The artist is a 2004 graduate of the University of North Alabama and currently works in various media including photography and graphic art. Brackin said that for this year's competition he "used design elements conveying the rich heritage and connection of the Shoals area to both W.C. Handy and the music styles that have become synonymous with the Muscle Shoals Sound." He continued, "the flow, the sound of music, and the river are historically important to the Shoals area, and W.C. Handy was famous for bringing these rich elements together. Lines of Blue are used to convey the ideas of both music and the Tennessee River at the Shoals. Red and yellow represent the deeper soul of the music and the climate of warm summer days and evenings against the background of deep purple nights."

The annual W.C. Handy Festival Design Competition draws participants of all ages. The winning design is featured on the front of the 2015 T-shirts, on the Official Handy Brochures, and on other marketing materials. Mr. Brackin has already autographed a limited number of the posters. There will also be unsigned posters available for purchase.

Handy Festival concessions are available by calling 256-766-7642, or 256-394-8674.
T-shirts and hats can also be found at:

W.C. Handy Home & Museum
620 W. College Street
Florence, AL 35630

Ye Olde General Store
219 North Seminary street
Florence, AL 35630

Jewell's Accessories Boutique
111 North Court Street
Florence, AL 35630

Florence Lauderdale Tourism Office
McFarland Park
200 Jim Spain Drive
Florence, AL 35630

Counts Brothers Music
713 Waverly Avenue
Muscle Shoals, AL 35661

Zoey Belles Boutique
300 N Montgomery Avenue
Sheffield, AL 35660

2016 W.C. Handy Music Camp

The 2016 W.C. Handy Music Camp will be held June 20-23 on the campus of the University of North Alabama. For More information call 256-766-7642.

The 2015 W. C. Handy Music Camp was held June 8-11, 2015

The 22nd W. C. Handy Music Camp was held June 8-11, 2015, on the campus of the University of North Alabama. Ken Watters (trumpet player and jazz composer) will serve as camp director. The faculty is composed of professional musicians with extensive performance experience. Camp curriculum will include theory, private lessons, sectionals, combo, big band, and improvisation performance history. The Music Camp will culminate with a concert on Thursday, June 11 at 6:00 pm.

The Music Camp is a joint effort of the W. C. Handy Music Festival and the University of North Alabama (UNA) and is hosted by Dr. Lloyd Jones and Dr. Edd Jones, both of whom have directed UNA's bands. For information and registration please contact the W.C. Handy Festival (256-766-7642) or by email at

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