2017 HWY 80 Songwriters Fest (gallery)

2016 Highway 80 Songwriter’s Festival (gallery)

Sloss Music & Arts Festival 2015

The inaugural Sloss Music & Arts Festival (aka Sloss Fest) was held July 18-19, 2015 as Sloss Furnaces in Birmingham.

Photo of the Day

20150703 Songwriters and committee-0826


It was a great evening of music in Demopolis on July 3rd, but it’s not all fun and games getting ready for such an event. That behind-the-scenes hard work to make it all run smoothly is done by the festival’s committee.

Festival committee members on the front row are (L-R) Andy Renner, Mike Rogers, John Scales, Ashley Coplin, Bill Meador, Sam Gross, Bill Mason, Mike Grayson, Laurie Willingham and Mike Baker.

Singers/Songwriters on the back row are (L-R) Alan Hartzell, Mel Knapp, Derek Norsworthy, Melissa Joiner, Megan McMillan, Christina Christian, Britt Gully, Steve Wilkerson and Shawn Pfaffman. Not pictured is Amy Lott.


2015 Highway 80 Songwriter’s Festival (gallery)

Hwy 80 Songwriters Festival (gallery)

A great evening of music at the Hwy 80 Songwriter’s Festival in Demopolis.

Photo of the Day: July 7, 2013

2013 FOTR-4571

Even a little rain couldn’t dampen the spirits of music fans attending the

Songwriter’s Festival at Confederate Park on Saturday evening

in Demopolis.

6th Annual Pepper Jelly Festival – April 27, 2013

The not-for-profit, Alabama Rural Heritage Foundation announces details for their April 27th Pepper Jelly Festival.  The Saturday, April 27th event will be held from 10:00 a.m. through 3:00 p.m. on the campus of the old Marengo County High School (MCHS) – 133 Sixth Avenue, Thomaston, Alabama.  The majority of the activities will occur at the Alabama Rural Heritage Center, formerly MCHS’ Home Economics and Vocational Agricultural Building, but will include activities throughout the MCHS Campus.
Headlining the 2013 Pepper Jelly Festival will be the world famous Blues singer, Debbie Bond.  She and her band have performed throughout the Deep South and much of Europe – expanding the awareness of, and increasing the appreciation for the Blues genre.  Having released two albums, What Goes Around Comes Around, and Hearts are Wild, Debbie Bond supports the music of Alabama Blues and has been featured in many Alabama music promotions, including The Oxford AmericanSouthern Living magazine, and a PBS documentary on Alabama music.  To learn more about Debbie Bond, visit her website:  http://www.debbiebond.com/.
Additionally, those attending the Pepper Jelly Festival will enjoy listening to local entertainers, Ronnie Richardson and his unique renditions of Elvis Presley hits, and Gene Etheridge and Friends, with their always-popular classic Country.
Formerly known as “Rural Fun Day”, typically a late-summer occasion, the event was moved to a more pleasant, spring-time event, and has been renamed the “Pepper Jelly Festival” to honor the locally produced “Mama Nem’s Pepper Jelly” – a time-tested recipe of local flavors, hand-made by the Center’s volunteers, into the delectable product produced at the Rural Heritage Center. 
The Pepper Jelly Festival provides a wonderful opportunity for the Alabama Rural Heritage Foundation to continue meeting its mission to honor Alabama Artisans and handmade crafters.  Visitors to the Pepper Jelly Festival get to experience lost-art demonstrations from local and regional crafters, all the while enjoying good food, including the original “Thomaston Bar-B-Que”, listening to great music, and gaining a better appreciation for the rich, black belt culture of West-Central Alabama. 
Recognized locally by the “Eat Pepper Jelly” motto, Mama Nem’s Pepper Jelly’s popularity has grown to become a regional and national delicacy.  Sold through the Center’s Gift Shop, the green and red pepper jelly is available in 4 ounce and 8 ounce jars.  The success and popularity of the home-made jelly had grown to include sales throughout Alabama.  Additional information about the Pepper Jelly and our Pepper Jelly Festival is available through the Alabama Rural Heritage Foundation’s website: http://www.ruralheritagecenter.com.
For more information about vendor space or  the 6th Annual Pepper Jelly Festival, contact the Alabama Rural Heritage Center, by phone, (334) 627-3388, or e-mail, ruralher@frontiernet.net.
Pepper Jelly Festival 2013

Demopolis to host songwriters festival

Tourism and the arts are the focus of a new Demopolis venture that promises to draw music lovers to the city.

The West Alabama East Mississippi Songwriters Festival – or WAEM Songfest – is a partnership between Demopolis and Meridian that will feature a number of singer/songwriters when it has its inception July 5 and 6.

“What we’re trying to do is keep some of those folks who will be in town for Freedom on the River or get some new folks coming into town on Friday and Saturday,” Demopolis Mayor Mike Grayson said.

The city will utilize Marengo Café and Foscue House Friday, July 5 for its songwriters showcase as musicians play acoustic sets throughout the evening.

Saturday, July 6, the barbecue field, playground pavilion and city landing pavilion will be utilized for more artists to display their talents.

“It’ll still be the unplugged type thing. It’ll be more bands. It’s low key but should be fun,” Grayson said of the endeavor.

The initiative is a partnership with the Lauderdale Tourism Bureau and will serve as the precursor to a larger festival that will take place in Meridian in September.

“What we’re doing this year in 2013 is kind of the taste. It is a smaller, condensed version,” Grayson explained. “The third week in September, we’re going to take what we learned in Demopolis and replicate it in Meridian in several venues over there. Then in 2014, we will have the big songwriters festival. The end game on this is to establish another industry, which is the tourism dollar coming to Demopolis. Ultimately what we’re trying to do is promote the arts.”

In their efforts to promote the arts, WAEM Songfest organizers hope to develop into the link between the well-established songwriter communities both north and south of them.

“What we’re trying to do is be the link between the Mississippi Delta and Gulf Shores,” Grayson said.