GCM staff report
GULF SHORES – The poster is up, the vendors are rolling in, and now get ready for some old friends and soon-to-be favorites to take the stage at the 50th.th-Annual national shrimp festival 12.-15. Oct. Spread across a range of genres from classic rock to country to zydeco to R&B, organizers believe there is something for everyone at this year’s festival.
Scheduled to headline Saturday night (Oct. 14) on the East Stage is ’70s southern rock group Wet Willie, fronted by Alabama native Jimmy Hall. Wet Willie’s origins go back even further than the Shrimp Festival. The group formed just 50 miles northwest of Gulf Shores in Mobile during the summer of 1969.
The group captured the attention of audiences while opening for The Allman Brothers Band in 1971. The momentum continued with chart toppers like “Keep on Smilin'” and “Weekend” hitting the national airwaves. Wet Willie’s contributions to the state were recognized in 2018 when the group was inducted into the Alabama Music Hall of Fame, a venue where they played the grand opening in 1990.
“With this year being our 50th, we want to celebrate our past along with all the things that make Alabama great, and we know Wet Willie will accomplish that,” said Tim Brown, the festival’s entertainment chairman. “Jimmy and his crew continue to entertain across the country and we know people will have a blast when he takes the stage.”
This is not Wet Willie’s first time at the shrimp festival. The group headlined the 28th edition of the event in 1999. This isn’t lead singer Jimmy Hall’s first time passing through coastal Alabama this year, either, as he took the stage at The Wharf in Orange Beach in May as a member of Hank Williams Jr. .’s touring band.
Many longtime festival favorites will perform throughout the weekend, including “The Voice” Final 4 contestant Kirk Jay, The Velcro Pygmies, Dr. Zarr’s Amazing Funk Monster and tribute bands performing hits from Queen, AC/DC, Bon Jovi and Journey. Concerts will run during the festival’s four days on two stages, one at each end of the lot at Gulf Place in Gulf Shores, where Hwy. 59 meets the Gulf of Mexico. This year’s West Stage will be presented by ZYN Nicotine Pouches.
“Music has been a part of this festival since its inception and there really is nothing better than bringing it all in,” said festival chairman Andrew Hart. “You look behind you at both stages and you’re only a few hundred meters away from the Gulf of Mexico. It’s a unique feature that we’re so privileged to have attached to our event.”
For those who want to get a taste of the atmosphere that Shrimp Fest sets, a playlist highlighting past headliners and entertainment acts throughout the festival’s history has been created and can be accessed via the myshrimpfest.com website.
Along with the playlist, myshrimpfest.com is home to all the information you need to know about the festival, including the full entertainment lineup, details on activities and a list of vendors.
As always, access to the Shrimp Festival area and concerts is free.
Read more: Poster for milestone 50th annual National Shrimp Festival selected