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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!

 This year’s W.C. Handy Music Festival is
July 21st through 30th, 2017.

 Contact the W.C. Handy Music Festival at any time by mail at: 
P.O. Box 1827, Florence AL 35631
256-766-7642, or on Facebook, or at  

You can also drop by to visit our new offices at:
 409 North Court Street, Suite 11 (Downstairs) , Florence, AL  35630
M-F between the hours of 2:00 and 5:00 pm

W. C Handy Music Festival Headliner Concert:

7 pm until....     Norton Auditorium, University North Alabama Campus, Florence

Doors open at 6:30 pm.

General Admission Tickets:
$20.00 plus fees online
$25.00 at the gate


Make plans now to attend next year’s W.C. Handy Music Festival,
July 20
th through 29th, 2018.

Become a
"Friend of the Festival"!

The Music Preservation Society Inc., which sponsors the W. C. Handy Music Festival every year, is a 501 c(3) non-Profit organization. We are heavily reliant on gifts, donations and grants to organize and present the Festival annually. As a Friend of the Festival you can help ensure that this event continues uninterrupted for years to come. Please click on the PayPal button below and contribute today.
All donations are 100% tax deductible.

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

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

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

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

Counts Brothers Music
713 Waverly Avenue
Muscle Shoals, AL 35661

Please checkout our updated 2017 schedule.

The DaDooRunRun! (Something for everyone including the 5K Run and Family Fun Walk)

A Tri-State Bike Ride through Alabama, Mississippi, and Tennessee!

The traditional Street Strut Parade!

Determined, the play about life of William Christopher (W.C.) Handy!

Courting the Blues Parade!

Exhibits! Car, Truck, and Bike Shows! Music History Discussions!

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

Be sure and look for the Dick's Sporting Goods tent at the DaDooRunRun and at Wilson Park for the Street Strut and Parade.

A big thanks to Ford Motor Company for all the support for all these years!

The Music Preservation Society, Inc. and the W.C. Handy Music Festival thanks the Florence Federal Credit Union for their support of  the Florence Falcon Big Blue Marching Band under the director of Terry Owenby

Internet Access during the Festival for the Headquarters Office was provided by the Muscle Shoals Public Library. Thanks to Denita Lester and Christina Johnson for their help in getting us online!

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:

  • Alabama Event of the year
  • Top Ten Event in Alabama by Alabama Bureau of Tourism and Travel
  • Top Twenty Event by Southeast Tourism Society
  • Top 50 Must-See Alabama Festivals for the Year of Music
  • Top 100 Event in North America by the American Bus Association
  • Alabama Mountain Lakes Peak Award Winner
  • Three-time Cultural Olympiad Designee
  • Appalachia/National Geographic Geo-Tourism Featured Site
  • Local Secret! Big Find! by
  • Winner of numerous Addy awards for the Festival campaign by Shoals Advertising Federation


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!


Microwave Dave teaches children how to "Jazz It Up With Trash"

Eric Essix is BACK at the Handy Festival!

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