Just like The Shoals, the quiet corner of Alabama whose recording studios have produced some of the world’s biggest hits, ShoalsFest punches above its weight. No, this isn’t a jam-packed, blow out festival, but it attracts some of the top Americana acts in the country to this small town on the bank of the Tennessee River. (Have you ever heard of Sheryl Crow?) Some of these stars are friends of festival founder Jason Isbell, a Shoals-area-native who grew up to win four Grammys and has become one of the leading voices in progressive, heart-wrenching twang. He’s also one of the many artists who have made hit records at one of the Shoals’s three music studios, elevating the area to a near mythical position in music culture. Likewise, the festival is lowkey but substantial. It’s two days and three stages of string instruments and velvety vocals. This year, you can hear Jason Isbell, his wife Amanda Shires, Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats, Brittney Spencer, Christone “Kingfish” Ingram, Drivin N Cryin, and more. The stages do sit on the river’s edge, and many choose to listen from the deck of their boat, but docks cannot be reserved ahead of time.
ShoalsFest is located within driving distance of major cities including:
- Huntsville (73 miles)
- Birmingham (117 miles)
- Nashville (122 miles)
- Tuscaloosa (122 miles)
- Memphis (155 miles)
- Atlanta (263 miles)
- Auburn (245 miles)
- 5,000 people attended in a single day in 2019
- Both VIP and General Admission tickets are available for one or two days. Two day General Admission tickets start at $99.50.