To-Do List: WhistleStop Bar-B-Que Weekend

2018 WhistleStop Festival

Debating whether or not you should check out Huntsville’s 18th annual WhistleStop Bar-B-Que Weekend at the Huntsville Historic Depot on May 4th and 5th? Let’s take an in-depth look at just some of the many reasons why you should add this festival to your to-do list:

1) Meat

2) Music


Are you still reading? Honestly, I would assume the only reason you’d even start reading a post on whether to check out WhistleStop was because you’d never heard of it, but, even then, only the most skeptical would even make it past the name – “WhistleStop Bar-B-Que Weekend.” Kind of says it all, doesn’t it? And, in case you missed it, note the nuance of the name – this is not some sort of wannabe Yankee event with “barbecue,” nor something offering mere half-hearted “BBQ.” No, sir, this is a proper Bar-B-Que Weekend.


WhistStop BBQ 2


Let’s say, hypothetically, that you weren’t convinced two paragraphs ago, and you’re still reading at this point. Since you’re demanding the hard sale, let’s dig into this further.

First, let’s talk about the meat.

The first thing you’ll notice even before you enter the Depot for WhistleStop is the smell. The atmosphere is saturated with the unmistakable and unmatched odor of various types of smoking meat, and this is the good stuff – five different competitions will take place over the weekend. Come at the right time, and you get to help judge bar-b-que or wings.


WhistleStop BBQ

Did I mention the music?

WhistleStop may have started with meat, but with each passing year it’s increasingly coming into its own as a music festival with headlining acts Survivor and Spin Doctors, along with a great roster of area artists.

On Friday night the Spin Doctors will headline the entertainment. To the wider world, the Doctors might be the multi-million-selling icons behind hits like “Two Princes” and “Little Miss Can’t Be Wrong,” not to mention the classic “Pocket Full Of Kryptonite.” But in 2014, Chris Barron (vocals), Aaron Comess (drums), Eric Schenkman (guitar) and Mark White (bass) are reconnecting with the flat-broke twenty-somethings who scraped for dollars at the sharp end of the Big Apple blues circuit. The Spin Doctors have come full-circle.

Survivor will headline Saturday night. Survivor released their first album in 1980 on Scotti Brothers. Their first Top-40 on the Hot 100 came the next year with “Poor Man’s Son.” Their big break would come in 1982 when the band was asked by Sylvester Stallone to provide the theme song for Rocky III. That single, “Eye Of The Tiger,” hit # 1 – staying there for seven weeks, winning a Grammy for Best Rock Performance By A Duo Or Group With Vocal, a People’s Choice Award, and Academy Award & Golden Globe nominations. The song came in at #18 on the “Top 100 Singles” chart in Billboard‘s 100th Anniversary issue and it’s well over the 7 million mark worldwide on iTunes, where it’s currently holding strong at #9 on their “Top Soundtrack” chart. The band also struck paydirt as a result of a Stallone movie when “Burning Heart” appeared on the soundtrack of Rocky IV in 1985, hitting No. 2 on the singles chart. Their followup record Vital Signs was another huge success for the band, peaking at #16 on Billboard‘s “Top 200 Albums” chart thanks to the Billboard Top-20 hits “I Can’t Hold Back” (#13), “High On You” (#8) and “The Search Is Over” (#4). With a new team on board and new energy in the air, the future couldn’t be brighter for Survivor!

And if that’s still not enough, there’s a Corn Hole Championship with cash prizes, a Kids Zone, food vendors, a great gift shop and more. Plus, there’s the fact that it’s for a good cause, supporting the EarlyWorks Children’s Museum and educational programs. There’s no better feeling than enjoying a big mouthful of bar-b-cue while awesome music plays, and knowing that you’re doing it all for the kids.

Tickets for the event can be purchased online at  All proceeds from WhistleStop Weekend benefit the educational initiatives of The EarlyWorks Family of Museums.

The 2018 WhistleStop Bar-B-Que Weekend will be held May 4-5.

Click here for more information on all the fun!

*Updated to Reflect 2018 Information

Folks enjoy the festivities during the Whistlestop Bar-B-Que Festival 2017 at the Roundhouse Depot Saturday, May 6, 2017 in Huntsville, Ala. (Eric Schultz / Rocket City Photo)



Which iHeartHsv blogger wrote this?

David Hitt

David Hitt


David Hitt is a native of Huntsville who enjoys telling the stories of his hometown. He works in strategic communications for NASA’s Space Launch System, the rocket that will send astronauts to Mars and prove once again that nobody builds ‘em like the Rocket City. David tells Huntsville history stories at the Huntsville Ghost Walk, Constitution Village’s downtown trolley tour, and the Maple Hill Cemetery Stroll. He’s the author of two books on space history, “Homesteading Space” and “Bold They Rise” and is the director of the Comic Science Improv comedy troupe.

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