Honey Island Swamp Band

Honey Island Swamp Band will headline the Saturday night Jazz Fest concert June 15.

The 29th Annual Jazz Fest – Alexander City’s and Lake Martin’s free signature summer event – opens at Strand Park on June 14 and moves to The AMP on June 15, featuring six bands and drawing to a close the city’s nine-day Sun Festival celebration.

Several thousand attendees are expected to descend upon Alexander City’s downtown for the Friday night concert, which will showcase three bands, including The Bank Walkers, Sam Burchfield and The Scoundrels, with Willie Sugarcapps closing the first night of the concert series. 

The next day takes the fun to the scenic hillside at Lake Martin Amphitheater. Nikki and The Phantom Callers kick off the show at 6 p.m. with Southern Gothic rock ‘n’ roll. The lead vocalist is a Dadeville native. Empire Strikes Brass will have the audience on their feet with their vivacious and funky beats for the mid-show, and at 9 p.m., headliner Honey Island Swamp Band will close the 29th Annual Jazz Fest series. Honey Island Swamp Band has been tagged as a Bayou Americana-styled group.

Alexander City Chamber of Commerce Vice President of Marketing and Special Events Kim Dunn reminded concertgoers of closed roads, picnic and beverage policies at Strand Park and sponsor support for the free event.

“Sometime after about 10 a.m. – as we’re getting set up at Strand Park – Bibb Street will close from Tallapoosa to Alabama,” Dunn said. “Alabama Street and Tallapoosa Street will close from Madison to Franklin shortly before the concert begins. Motorists should be prepared to take an alternate route in the area.”

Parking for the concert is available throughout the downtown area, from the City Hall lot to Calhoun Street and the Hamp Lyon Stadium area; Broad Street Plaza and the old chamber office on Tallapoosa Street.

Downtown restaurants will be open for dining-in and carryout, and there will be food vendors on-site at Strand Park, Dunn said.

“Picnicking is allowed at Strand Park but no cooking or grilling,” she said. “Pick a spot on the hillside to set up lawn chairs and blankets, but please leave pets at home. They are not allowed at the park for this event.”

Strand Park is in the downtown arts and entertainment district, so concertgoers could purchase alcoholic beverages at downtown restaurants and bars and bring them to the park. Personal coolers are allowed as well.

Canopy tents will be allowed at the top of the hill only, Dunn said.

“Don't set up a tent any place where it would block other people’s views,” she explained.

The first band starts at 6 p.m., but concertgoers are welcome to set up their spots on the grass any time after 4 p.m. Sponsors will be setting up their tables at that time, as well.

“Please make a point of going around to look at the sponsored table decorations. These sponsors help to keep Jazz Fest free every year, and we would appreciate it if people would support our sponsors,” Dunn said.

In addition, T-shirt sales for both Sun Festival and Jazz Fest help to keep this event free. Shirts are on sale now at the Alexander City Chamber of Commerce on Aliant Parkway and at selected local retailers. Any remaining T-shirts will be available for purchase at the concert, but Dunn said, early purchase is recommended.

“There is a limited supply of T-shirts this year, so be sure to shop early to get the sizes you want,” she said.

Local artist Audra Spears won both T-shirt design contests for Sun Festival and Jazz Fest. This is the first year that one artist has swept both design contests. Jazz Fest shirts are $10 each; Sun Festival shirts are $20.

Similar policies are in place for Saturday’s music series at The Lake Martin Amphitheater on state Route 63, said Russell Lands Director of Marketing Operations Robert Gunn.

Gates open at 5 p.m., and there is no charge for admission or parking. Follow the directions of parking attendants. A trolley should be available to move concertgoers from the parking lot to the amphitheater hillside, but it’s still a good idea to pack light, as all chairs, blankets, coolers and other gear will have to be carried to the amphitheater.

Picnics are allowed but no grilling or cooking. There will be food vendors on site as well, Gunn said. Coolers also are permitted be prepared, if asked, to an ID with proof of age.

Pets are not allowed at The AMP, Gunn said.

“It’s just not a good place for them. There’s so much going on,” he said. “We just want everyone to come with a good attitude, big smiles, lots of friends and family and have a great time.”

Russell Lands On Lake Martin is the presenting sponsor for this year’s Jazz Fest, as well as the Saturday night stage sponsor at The AMP. Russell Medical will sponsor the stage on Friday night at Strand Park. Additional sponsors include Lee Marketing Group, Lake Martin Dock Company and Tallapoosa County Commissioner Steve Robinson.

For more information about Alexander City Jazz Fest, visit alexcityjazzfest.com.