SLOSS Music Festival in Birmingham AL
One of the more unusual live music events in the US is the annual SLOSS Music Festival, a two-day event in Birmingham, Alabama, that centers on the historic SLOSS furnaces. The festival, which is held annually in June, is based around concerts, but also features vendor booths and demonstrations at the SLOSS furnaces.
The furnaces were originally constructed in the 1880s and were located on the east side of the downtown area. Over the years, the furnaces were expanded, rebuilt, and eventually became a signature part of Birmingham. By 1981, they were designated a national landmark and two years later opened as a museum. The location and unique setting became the centerpiece for a music festival that is today becoming one of the fastest growing of its type in the US.
The first SLOSS Music Festival happened in 2015 with event backers choosing the location due to the unique setting which made for a stark difference compared to typical music concerts set amid traditional venues, parks, and other outdoor locations.
The first event consisted of 33 bands playing on three different stages known as the Blast, Shed, and Steam. The artists ran the gamut of music, including acts such as Cage the Elephant, Robert DeLong, Blank Range, and St. Paul & the Broken Bones to name a few. There were plenty of food trucks, vendors, and a special beer garden with a special brew called “Siren of Sloss” beer made by local craft breweries.
Despite temperatures that reached into the 90s, the event was considered a success with plans for next year to include expanding the lineup and push the marketing to new levels in attracting more attendees. The result was that the 2016 SLOSS Music Festival was an even bigger success with 40 acts performing on four separate stages with the Seasick Records stage being added.
The concerts featured live music from local, regional, and internationally recognized bands such as The Flaming Lips and Death Cab for Cutie to name a few. More vendors and an expanded beer garden helped to cool the attendees during the hot weather. Because of the success of the 2016 festival, the 2017 event was expanded in terms of the acts that performed, but it remained a two-day concert.
2017 to Today
Headlining the 2017 SLOSS Music Festival was the Alabama Shakes, Wray, Nowhere Squares, Widespread Panic, and many more acts. With different genres being represented, the success of the festival expanded by attracting even more people to the event. For many, each festival has capitalized on the success of the previous ones and adding the unique setting has only made them more memorable.
Although only four years old, the SLOSS Music Festival is having a growing impact on the city of Birmingham, Alabama as more people attend the live music concerts each year. In 2018, acts such as Arcade Fire, Jason Isbell, and Chris Stapleton entertained the crowds headlining another highly successful event.
As the music festival grows, so too will the interest which has been expanding across the US.
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