As trendy and hip as Huntsville has become in recent years, it’s still a town of rich tradition. And we’re not just talking about the historic hand the town has had in space exploration either. While we’ve had a part in the story of reaching out for the stars, sometimes the stars find Huntsville as well.
That’s certainly the case this year as the annual Panoply Arts Festival celebrates its 33rd year. Since the festival kicked off in 1982, Panoply has been Huntsville’s premiere showcase for local arts and crafts. In recent years however, the festival has also boasted world class musical headliners as well. This year is no exception as Panoply’s featured artists include veteran folk rockers Indigo Girls, as well as the throwback country duo of The Secret Sisters.
This year, Panoply will showcase North Alabama’s own The Secret Sisters. Members Laura and Lydia Rogers hail from just an hour west of Huntsville near Killen, Alabama, where they developed their traditional country sound by singing acapella in their hometown churches. In a short span of time, the Sisters had come to impress many in Nashville, including prolific producer T. Bone Burnett. Having worked with artists such as Bob Dylan, Elvis Costello, and Robert Plant, Burnett produced the first self-titled album from The Secret Sisters in 2010.
The hit single “Why Baby Why,” showcased the retro country sound from The Secret Sisters, which stood in sharp contrast to much of the pop-country produced in Nashville. The Rogers sisters then became regular names on the festival circuit, and even built on their music catalog by working with modern rock hero Jack White. The collaboration produced a rip-roaring cover of Johnny Cash’s “Big River,” showcasing not only White’s searing guitar solo, but sharp rocking harmonies from the Sisters to match.
After making waves in Nashville and around the world, The Secret Sisters will land in Huntsville to headline the Showcase Stage, starting at 7:30PM on Friday, April 24th.
Next up on Saturday will be Amy Ray and Emily Saliers of the famed rock duo The Indigo Girls. After starting the band in the Atlanta area in the early 80s, The Indigo Girls have staked a claim as a powerhouse group known for their brand of psychedelic indie folk rock as heard in their hits “Galileo” and “Closer to Fine.” After the album “Nomads Indians Saints” went gold in the early 1990s, the group cemented a legacy of hits that include cuts such as “The Power of Two” and “Romeo and Juliet.
The Indigo Girls also have a storied reputation as vocal proponents of social causes, popularly seen with their collaboration with pop-rock singer P!nk on the 2006 track “Dear Mr. President.” The group has been champions of causes dear to them, also having participated in the True Colors tour, benefiting the Human Rights Campaign. The Indigo Girls have also been outspoken on their recent independently produced albums, which includes their new 2015 release “One Lost Day.”
The fiery Indigo Girls will bring their one of a kind folk rock to Panoply’s Showcase Stage on Saturday, April 25th at 7:30PM.
When it comes to stars, Panoply will also boast some of Huntsville’s own rising stars as well. Opening for The Secret Sisters on Friday the 24th will be local indie-folk group Ashlyn Maine. The group has become a favorite in Huntsville, becoming well known for their fast paced and emotional track “Change of Heart,” as well as the raw and passionate “Whiskey Like Fire.”
WHEN: Ashlyn Maine will bring their set to the Panoply Center Stage on Friday, April 24th at 7:00PM.
Leading up to the headlining set from The Secret Sisters will be popular classical fusion duo Unknown Lyric. Having grown a reputation for bringing down the house at locations like Lowe Mill, the duo features Jeremiah Turner on acoustic guitar and Kevin Grayson on violin.
WHEN: The two produce high energy mashups and original songs, and are sure to bring a high energy set to the Showcase Stage at 6:00PM on Friday, April 24th.
The Beasley Brothers
Local acts featured on Saturday also include Huntsville’s own pop-folk group The Beasley Brothers. After growing their sound and a fan base on the campus of UAH, songs like “I Know” have established the Beasleys as a fantastic upbeat group.
WHEN: They will entertain the masses on the Showcase Stage at 4:15 on Saturday.
Additionally, opening for The Indigo Girls on Saturday will be local blues rockers Denim Jawbones.
WHEN: The group will take their smokey modern sounds to the Showcase Stage at 5:30PM on Saturday.
For a full listing of the stage lineup for Panoply 2015, click here.
The 33rd annual Panoply Arts Festival will fill Huntsville’s Big Spring International Park with fantastic music, arts, crafts, and of course food on April 24th through the 26th. Tickets can be purchased online now by clicking here, or at the gate at Big Spring International Park on the days of the event.
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