Autumn is one of the best times of the year to pull out your camping chairs, coolers, and sweaters, and attend outdoor live music events. There is a history of great outdoor music events and festivals across Alabama that have introduced folks to awesome local and touring bands who are experts in keeping crowds entertained. There’s one Calhoun County festival that may not be on your radar yet, but it sure has made a big impression on music lovers from all around. Nestled in the countryside of Ohatchee sits Williams Farm, the setting of an awesome annual music festival that draws people by the hundreds to dance till they drop to awesome Americana, folk, rock, and R&B bands. Kellypalooza 2023 is here, set to rock all day on Saturday, October 28 from 1:00 pm to 11:30 pm.
Tickets to this family-friendly music celebration are $45 for adults and FREE to kids 12 and under. There are also VIP tickets for $100 which offer access to the VIP area, a full-service bar, food, and special merch (21 and up only). Regular festival attendees can purchase food and drink from the food trucks on the ground, or bring their own coolers, stocked to your heart’s content. Read on to learn how this yearly music festival came about and how you can attend and listen to a superb musical line-up.
The History of Kellypalooza
Kellypalooza began in 2013 when Kelly Williams and her then-boyfriend Coke decided to host an informal gathering featuring live music on the Williams Family Farm in Ohatchee, Alabama to commemorate her 50th birthday. They collaborated with Michael Trucks of Red Mountain Entertainment and Tate Beckham, who helped with organizing Birmingham’s annual City Stages concerts. The first gathering featured live music on a lighted stage, a 600-pound crawfish boil, and attendees numbering around 600. The biggest surprise of the evening came when Kelly and Coke surprised everyone with a surprise wedding that night, complete with a minister, bagpiper, and champagne. Since then, the annual event has grown in popularity, becoming one of the favorite fall music events in Calhoun County.
While Kellypalooza may appear to be all fun and games, it’s also a charitable event. Proceeds have funded food banks, the Birmingham Zoo, and more. Their beneficiary this year (as well as last year) is Coosa Riverkeeper, a non-profit whose mission is to protect, restore, and promote the Coosa River and its tributaries. They work to ensure that these Alabama waterways are monitored for pollutants, patrolled, and that folks are educated about their value in the region. As Cane Creek, one of the Coosa River’s tributaries, runs right through the Williams Farm, the Williams family values teaming with the organization.
The Musical Lineup
The music is where it’s at at Kellypalooza! The lineup of bands is impressive, taking to the stage to pull out their best music tricks on a top-notch, fully-lighted stage, complete with state-of-the-art sound.
The party will start with DeeOhGee, a 3-piece Americana and folk rock band out of Kentucky. They play clubs and other events across the U.S. with their high-energy, entertaining root-style shows. If you enjoy down-home folk rock with instruments like banjo, guitar, dobro, fiddle, and accordion, set to a rock drumbeat, you’ll be dancing your heart out to North Carolina/Utah-based folk rock band Grizzly Goat. This band is not all high energy, though–they can also deliver soft, sincere campfire ballads just right for the Kellypalooza setting.
If you’ve got more of a hankering for rhythm & blues, get ready for Mz Aretta and the New Direction Band, the 5-piece Birmingham band fronted by a female vocalist (or 2) that seamlessly delivers Mowtown classics and other R&B favorites in jazzy-funk style. Another Alabama band that will close out the evening is the Supper Club, a Southern indie rock 4-piece group straight out of Opelika whose sound is reminiscent of The Band.
Camping and Other Festivities
For those who love pulling out their tents and RVs to enjoy the crisp autumn air, your ticket will also buy you the opportunity to camp on the grounds of the Williams Farm on Saturday night. While the camping is primitive, there will be areas designated for both tents and RV campers on a first-come/first-serve basis.
Also on the grounds festival day will be local artisans and craft vendors, a merch tent where you can purchase CDs, T-shirts, and other band merch, as well as souvenirs of Kellypalooza. There will also be drawings and raffles. Camping chairs are strongly encouraged (unless you plan to walk/stand/dance all day). Coolers are allowed with a BYOB policy.
Kellypalooza 2023 will take place at Williams Farm, Macon Quarter Ln, Ohatchee, AL 36271. For general info or ticketing questions, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call (256) 810-8443. Follow them to keep informed of upcoming details on Kellypalooza 2023 on their Facebook page.