By Sarrah Peters
Southside City Fest returns on July 18 for its ninth year. Admission to the event is free. The festival starts at 2 p.m. on the Southside High School grounds and ends at 10 p.m.
Last year the City of Southside estimated that over 8,000 people attended the music festival. This year officials expect just as many attendees, if not more.
Vocalists from Wise Choice Entertainment and Vocal Academy will kick off the event.
Up and coming artist Kensy Brooke will perform next. Only 13 years old, Brooke shows that talent has no age limit. She sings country music, and is influenced by the likes of Carrie Underwood, The Band Perry and Miranda Lambert.
Local band South Ridge will play third. South Ridge is made up of Larry Davis, on keyboards and vocals; Randy Sitz, on lead guitar and vocals; Fred Killian, on drums and vocals; and Ray Richardson on bass guitar and drums. The band plays rock and easy-listening music.
Kudzu Junkies is the next band scheduled to play. The five-person band is made of Les Wadley, Ken Beasley, Phillip Gladden, Steve Lister and Larry Simmons. All five of the band members each have at least 20 years of experience playing music. The band plays alternative and classic rock.
The Sweet Tea Trio, made up of local singer Kate Falcon, Victoria Camp from Tuscaloosa and Savannah Coker from Birmingham. The country trio has received many awards, but one of the most notable is 2014 State Title at the Annual Country Music Showdown. The band has also performed in many events and even opened for Season 8 American Idol winner Kris Allen.
This year’s headliner will be Diamond Rio. The country music band is made up Marty Roe as lead singer, Jimmy Olander on guitar, Brian Prout on drums, Dan Truman on keyboard, bassist/harmony Dana Williams on bass and singing harmony, and Gene Johnson on mandolin and singing harmony. They have had overwhelming success as country music artists. Their debut single “Meet in the Middle” reached No. 1. The band has hit Billboard charts with 32 more songs. The band has sold over 10 million albums earning three platinum and five gold records. The band has won the Country Music Association’s Vocal Group of the Year award four times, and netted two Academy of Country Music Awards in the top Vocal Group of the Year category. The band has received fourteen Grammy nominations, and won a Grammy in 2011 for the album “The Reason.”
About 60 arts, crafts and food vendors will take part in the festival this year. Vendors will be selling handmade jewelry, candles, handbags, lamps and lampshades, personalized shirts, mugs and picture frames, monogrammed ID holders, custom decals and much more.
Food of every type will be available at the festival. All the festival favorites, like funnel cake, hot dogs, corndogs, snow cones, cotton candy, popcorn, lemonade, nachos and deep fried oreos, will be sold by various vendors. Less traditional festival food will also be sold, such as gourmet hamburgers, gelato, barbeque, Frito pies, jalapeno poppers and chicken and gator kabobs. Nana’s Fried Pies and Frios Pops, both local favorites, will also be setting up booths at Southside City Fest.
The children’s area will have a mechanical bull and amusement rides, as well as other activities. Prices for these activities vary.
“It’s a family oriented fun day with a lot of entertainment,” said Southside Mayor Wally Burns.