Foothills Festival a big positive for area

More than 30,000 people converged on downtown Jasper over the two-day event, which featured headline artists St. Paul and the Broken Bones.

By bringing that many people to town, Foothills Festival is the single most important event in our area each year as far as tourism. The festival certainly showcases downtown Jasper, but it allows people from across the nation to come see everything that Walker County has to offer. It also allows us to show off the hospitality that people find unique to our community.

The hospitality shown by our locals is something that many visitors to Foothills have mentioned over the years. That type of impression is what leads people to come back at other times, not just for the music festival.

One person who doesn’t get enough credit for the success of Foothills is Zach Baker, the guy who books the bands. The level of musicians brought in each year for the festival is incredible. It is usually Grammy winner after Grammy winner, mixed in with a few up and coming acts. This year included powerhouse artists like St. Paul & the Broken Bones and The Steel Woods. Myles Kennedy stole the show in my opinion. The artists were rounded out by Aubrey Sellers, Charlie Worsham, Alcus Hudson and Fastball. That’s a tremendous lineup.

Some festivals like to “rock the south” with redneck revivals, while the Foothills Festival is a much classier lineup each year.

I firmly believe the selection of the musicians plays a direct role in the fact that arrests aren’t commonplace during the Foothills weekend. Other music festivals can’t make that claim. As of 2019, there had only been one arrest during a Foothills Festival. I believe that is still the case, because no arrests were reported this year.

An eclectic bunch of vendors are also always at Foothills. With more than 100 vendors, there is something for everyone. My children get a new puppet almost every year. The tie dye vendors seemed popular this year. I also had a friend tell me they had eaten the best lobster roll ever at this year’s festival.

While the music is always outstanding and the vendors provide for some interesting spending, my favorite part of the festival is the annual after party held at Tallulah Brewing Company, featuring DJ Barry Bangerz. Getting to cut loose on the dance floor is the perfect way to end the weekend.

This year’s Foothills Festival faced several stumbling blocks. The event was cancelled in 2020, was moved to spring of this year before being pushed back to September. Just a couple of weeks before the event, a near fiasco with the stage location almost hurt this festival. Thankfully, stakeholders spoke up and made sure the stage was where it always needs to be to better showcase our downtown.

A lot of people work very hard to pull off a quality festival each year. I can’t name everyone because I would leave someone out. People know who they are, and they work on this festival each year so it can showcase our area. That’s definitely what it does.

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James Phillips
Daily Mountain Eagle

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