Montgomery's Inaugural 'Fall Equinox Festival' A Huge Success October 04, 2017 10:49

Words by Inge Hill: Druids Charity Club

The 1st annual Fall Equinox Festival put on by the Montgomery based Druids Charity Club was a great success, both in terms of money raised for a great cause and smiles created. Set in Montgomery’s iconic Union Station Train Shed on Sunday, September 23rd, the event pulled in more than $70,000 through a combination of generous donations from sponsors and day of event sales. The occasion of the day was a benefit for Hogs for the Cause, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit supporting families afflicted with pediatric brain cancer. As a result of the event, grants have already been going out to local families in need.

As advertised, the event proved to be a family-centric affair with wide appeal across generations. Kids (and some adults) in pig noses could be heard squealing in delight in the ‘Pig Pen’ while they played in the two bouncy houses, ate cotton candy, had their faces painted, and participated in various arts and crafts adventures. For the sports inclined, the Alabama and Auburn games were each broadcast on an enormous LED TV setup. No one left the event hungry as the BBQ was both plentiful and delicious. Moe's Original BBQ served up Alabama style dishes; their pork ribs were a solid fan favorite. Druids BBQ focused on Texas Hill Country (beef brisket and sausage) while Mojo Hand focused on Carolina style ‘Q (pulled pork with mustard sauce). Taken as a whole, Montgomery was treated to a remarkably rounded BBQ review of some of the more distinctive styles that can be found in America.

The music was phenomenal and true to its advertising of a diverse bill spanning Blues and Americana  influences. Family Reunion Trio, consisting of Montgomery mainstays, William Barnes, Dave P. Moore, & John Mark Turner, got things going in the shed with a classy sit down acoustic affair. Moore treated the crowd to soulful vocals across a wide range of blues and roots music standards, while Barnes and Turner accompanied with mandolin and guitars. It was a fine collaboration for a group of musicians who have meant so much to the Montgomery music scene through the years.

After a 30 minute rain delay that made things interesting for a spell, Anthony ‘Big A’ Sherrod and the Allstars hit the stage with a foot stomping set of electronic Mississippi Delta blues. The quartet out of Clarksdale, MS came dressed for the occasion and determined to bring a little bit of that Delta sound to Montgomery. Big A demonstrated that he is a performer in every sense of the word, often interacting with the crowd between blues numbers which were usually punctuated with shredding guitar solos.

Last but not least, The Band of Heathens out of Austin took to the stage to take the bill to a more Americana realm. As a testament to their varied influences, many of their tunes (almost exclusively originals) had a familiar feeling even to first time listeners in the shed. Gordy Quist and Ed Jurdi displayed their vocal range throughout while the crowd was treated to numerous fan favorites and treats from their new album, Duende. While this band of musicians can jam with the best of them (“Look at Miss Ohio”, “Daddy Longlegs,” and the jam out of “Hurricane” come to mind) the band trended towards a disciplined structure underlined by an approachable down-home style. Together, diverse in influences yet similar in spirit, the three bands created a five hour musical jigsaw puzzle that came together piece by piece as the event unfolded. May their roads go on forever.

The Druids are pleased with the result of year #1 of the Fall Equinox Festival and look forward to building on that success heading into next year. A healthy amount of money was raised for local families and a good time was had by all doing it. The Druids would like to thank their countless volunteers and corporate sponsors whose generosity made everything possible. We would also like to thank Live and Listen for their support and promotion. As life goes, the last few years have not been short on challenges - all the more reason to find time to light those fires, plug in those guitars, put on those dancing shoes, and remember that life on this world is precious.