Five years after City Stages, is there a void without the festival?

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — For twenty-one years, City Stages was a staple of Father’s Day weekend in Birmingham. The festival drew acts from all genres until it went bankrupt in 2009.

Since that time, the music scene in Birmingham has been without a large scale festival. Many smaller, one-day affairs have taken off all over Birmingham, but nothing quite the same size as City Stages. However, does Birmingham’s music scene need a large festival at the moment?

“I don’t see a necessary void where people are like, “Where’s our festival?” said Scott Lander, a Birmingham native and facilities manager at Iron City Birmingham, one of the many smaller music venues seeing success in the post-City Stages Birmingham.

Lander remembers Birmingham going away from supporting live music not long after City Stages came to an end.

“I remember it specifically starting with some bigger concerts getting announced for like the BJCC and just not selling enough tickets,” he said.

The support for live music has picked up in the last year or so. Small venues around Birmingham like Iron City, Workplay, Bottletree and even some of the breweries have seen sold out attendance for live music shows. Lander sees this as a start to getting back to a larger festival.

“I see the potential for the growth of our support for live music necessitating a large scale festival,” he said. “Having great music is always an undertone in Birmingham culture. We are a music town.”

Iron City may be the venue to bring Birmingham its large scale festival. The venue just acquired new land adjacent to their current building. Nothing concrete has been decided for it’s use, but the idea of an outdoor festival has been thrown around.

“I have heard whispers of getting some kind of festival style shows going on, opening it up to the crow, closing off the streets, going big with it,” Lander said.

There has also been discussion of including Workplay in the plans for an outdoor festival should that be something Iron City explores.

“We could get tons of people down here and the benefits are countless,” Lander said. “It’s absolutely amazing for Birmingham, not only revenue for the area and building it up and making people feel safe about coming downtown and supporting not only live music but restaurants and all the other businesses we have down here.”

Copyright 2014 WIAT 42 News

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