Archives About Us Contact Us History

Home
Events Calendar
Locations
Musicians
Our Sponsors
Links
Affiliated Events
FAQs

Facebook
Stay up to date with our news on Facebook!

Twitter
Follow us on Twitter!

VISIT:
www.alabama.travel

From the Video Archives:

Click to watch
Music Festival History

Click to watch
Father of the Blues

Click to watch


Handy's First Music Teacher

Welcome to the Annual W.C. Handy Music Festival


William Christopher Handy was born in 1873 in Florence, Alabama. Since 1982, the Music Preservation Society, Inc. has been honoring and celebrating the "Father of the Blues" with an annual ten-day series of events held in the Northwestern part of Alabama, often referred to as "The Shoals."

In 2015 the Music Preservation Society, Inc. ("MPS") proudly presents the 34th award-winning W. C. Handy Music Festival which has been recognized 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

 


MAKE PLANS TO ATTEND THE 2015
FESTIVAL: July 17-26

We look forward to seeing you!

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

Ye Olde General Store
219 North Seminary street
Florence, AL 35630
256-764-0601

Jewell's Accessories Boutique
111 North Court Street
Florence, AL 35630
256-712-5988

 


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

The Music Preservation Society, Inc. is pleased to join with the University of North Alabama Music Department to offer a unique learning experience to a new generation of musicians. As W. C. Handy said in his autobiography, "…If my serenade of song and story should serve as a pillow for some compose's head… I will not have labored in vain." Under the direction of world-renown professional musicians, the camp offers instruction in theory, performance and private lessons, including experience with jazz, combo, and Big Band literature. For information contact the Music Preservation Society, Inc. at P. O. Box 1827, Florence, AL 35631, handyfst@bellsouth.net , 256-766-7642 or 256-766-9719.

 


About the 2014 W.C. Handy Jazz Camp

The 21st W. C. Handy Music Camp was held June 9-12, 2014, on the campus of the University of North Alabama. Howard Lamb (trombone player extraordinaire and leader of the Memphis Jazz Orchestra) served as camp director. Music Camp instructors provided four days of intensive training on various instruments. They included keyboard instructor Ray Reach, Director of Student Jazz Programs at the Alabama Jazz Hall of Fame; and trumpet instructor Gary Lamb (trumpet, flute, and vocals), former road manager for Glenn Miller Orchestra. Other instructors were Robert Dickson, bass; Gary Wheat, saxophone; Mark Lanter, drums; Jim Cavendar, guitar. Camp curriculum included theory, private lessons, sectionals, combo, big band, and improvisation performance history. The Music Camp culminated with a concert on Thursday at 6:00 pm held on stage in Norton Auditorium followed by a reception. This concert was an inspiring pre-curser to the W. C. Handy Music Festival. The Music Camp Faculty performed at a pre-festival Handy Lunch jam session at Rosie's Restaurant on Court Street in Florence Wednesday, June 11th from noon until 1 pm.

The Music Camp was a joint effort of the W. C. Handy Music Festival and the University of North Alabama (UNA) and was hosted by Dr. Lloyd Jones and Dr. Edd Jones, both of whom have directed UNA's bands. Camp Assistant Drew White, with the help of UNA students Adam Byars and Jimmy Johnson, worked with faculty and UNA's Department of Music. Phi Mu Alpha Music Fraternity assisted with the concert and hosted a reception following the concert.

 


About the 2014 W. C. Handy Music Festival Design

The official Festival design was an original work submitted by three University of North Alabama students, Caroline Thomas, Jordan Gowan, and Zach Swiatocha, who teamed up under the direction of UNA Profession Ron Davis to win the 2014 W. C. Handy Music Festival Design Competition. The official 2014 visual image was selected from an array of compelling entries, and was featured on all of the 2014 memorabilia and marketing materials. For information regarding the 2015 Design Competition contact the Music Preservation Society, Inc. at P. O. Box 1827, Florence, AL 35631, handyfst@bellsouth.net , 256-766-7642 or 256-766-9719

 


About the 2014 W.C. Handy Music Festival Headliner: CANDI STATON WITH GUESTS DONNIE FRITTS AND JOHN PAUL WHITE

2014 W.C. Handy Music Festival Headliner: CANDI STATON WITH GUESTS DONNIE FRITTS AND JOHN PAUL WHITE

Photo by Alan Messer

2014 W.C. Handy Music Festival Headliner: CANDI STATON WITH GUESTS DONNIE FRITTS AND JOHN PAUL WHITE

Photo by Shannon Wells

2014 W.C. Handy Music Festival Headliner: CANDI STATON WITH GUESTS DONNIE FRITTS AND JOHN PAUL WHITE

Photo by Shannon Wells

Candi Staton, Hanceville, Alabama native, began her career at the Jewell Christian Academy in Nashville, Tennessee, where she and her sister, Maggie, were students. The two teamed up with fellow classmate, Naomi Harrison, to form the Jewell Gospel Trio. Touring on the traditional gospel music circuit led to recordings for the Nashboro, Apollo, and Savoy labels.

Staton's Muscle Shoals' connection began with recordings at FAME, where, as a Southern soul stylist, she earned the title, "The First Lady of Soul." Grammy nominations followed with her Soul version of "Stand By Your Man," and "In The Ghetto." Appearances on "The Soul Train" second- season opening show widened her audience even more. Hits continued to top the US R&B and UK singles charts. Returning to Muscle Shoals in the 1980s she recorded her 27th album, "When Life Happens," for Beracah Records/Fame Records and received two Grammy nominations for two albums on the Beracah label that she formed with her husband.

By the mid-1980s, Staton had joined Intersound Records, where she earned a new title, "The Sweetheart of Soul." Over her six-decade musical career, Staton has released over 50 albums and singles.

When asked about bringing her vocal magic to the 2014 W. C. Handy Music Festival Headliner stage, she said: "I am so excited to be a part of the Handy Festival in the Shoals area where I started. It's been a long time coming, but I'm finally going to spend an evening with some of the most wonderful people that I've known for many years. Come out and let's have an amazing evening!" Whether she's singing Southern Soul, Disco, Country, Gospel, or inspirational music, Staton has the gift and she uses it well.

Candi Staton was joined by two singer/songwriter/musicians also with the Muscle Shoals' Connection. At the February 24, 2014 Alabama Music Hall of Fame Induction Banquet, in Florence, Alabama, when she was added to the list of Alabama Musical legends, Staton sang "I Ain't Easy To Love" with John Paul White, of The Civil Wars. After the performance, Muscle Shoals native, White, said: "I've had few experiences that rival singing with Candi. For me, growing up in the Shoals on country, soul and R&B - she's royalty. The best part is that she's one of the sweetest people I've met - musician or otherwise. I want to be like her." Staton recorded "I Ain't Easy to Love," with John Paul White and Jason Isbell for the album, "Life Happens," which debuted at #10 on Billboard's "Top Blues Album Charts" in May, 2014. John Paul White, Ben Tanner of The Alabama Shakes, and other partners have started a new record label called Single Lock Records, which recently signed St. Paul and the Broken Bones.

Music legend, Donnie Fritts - singer, songwriter, keyboardist, session musician and movie star - is another native of The Shoals who performed the headliner concert. Fritts has recorded with Charlie Rich, Jerry Lee Lewis, among others, and for 40 years has served as keyboardist for Kris Kristofferson. Fritts was inducted into the 2008 Alabama Music Hall of Fame, and has also appeared in several Kristofferson movies, has written songs recorded by music legends Willie Nelson, Delbert McClinton, Tony Joe White, Leroy Parnell, and John Prine. His most well known songs are "We Had It All" (sung by Waylon Jennings, Dobie Gray, Dolly Parton, Willie Nelson, Keith Richards, Ray Charles, Rolling Stones) and "Breakfast In Bed" (sung by Dusty Springfield, UB40 featuring Chrissie Hynde and Shelby Lynne). John Paul White and Donnie Fritts are currently teamed up as songwriters/artists/musicians to record what Fritts calls "a funky R&B" album on the Single Lock label.

Sponsored by: Music Preservation Society, Inc. * Shoals Solid Waste Authority * Colbert County Commission * Tennessee Valley Authority * Marriott Shoals Hotel and Spa * Local Ford Dealers * the University of North Alabama Department of University Events * Coca Cola Bottling Company * Quad Cities Carwash & Limousine * Rhoda P's Catering * Lauderdale County Commission

 


Two of the Shoals area's greatest assets are our rich musical heritage and the natural beauty that surrounds us. Keeping outdoor events litter and waste free allows us to showcase both of these assets to their fullest advantage. 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 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 our community citizens, attendees, and visitors to help us in our efforts by disposing trash in marked bins that will be provided at most events.

For more information about N Harmony with Nature, visit www.nharmonywithnature.org.

DID YOU KNOW?

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!

THANKS FOR PITCHING IN!

Search the W.C. Handy Music Festival website >
Loading
Copyright © 2004-14. Music Preservation Society. All Rights Reserved. Framing and/or duplication of content strictly prohibited. Best viewed in Internet ExplorerTM 4.0 or above with 800x600 resolution. Designed by I-Net Services, Inc. Web site made possible by a grant from the Alabama Bureau of Tourism & Travel.