Jason Isbell has announced that ShoalsFest, a country music festival that debuted in 2019, will return later in 2021. The festival was forced to take 2020 off due to the Covid-19 pandemic, but the show is officially back. According to RollingStone, the event is October 2 and 3 in Muscle Shoals, Alabama. Both nights of the festival will be headlined by Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit, however other notable artists on the lineup include Drive-By Truckers and Lucinda Williams.
ShoalsFest carries strong ties with the Shoals area and greater Alabama, as it is Isbell’s hometown. Two of the five members of Drive-By Truckers are also from Shoals, Alabama, with Isbell himself being a former member of the band. The festival will also include performances from Candi Staton, Amanda Shires, Centro-Matic, Slobberbone, Cedric Burnside, Pine Hill Haints and Farmer Jason. Tickets go on sale June 11 at 10 a.m. central time. ShoalsFest 2019, the inaugural ShoalsFest, featured Jason Isbell alongside performances from Mavis Staples, Amanda Shires and Sheryl Crow.
Recently in 2021, Jason Isbell and Amanda Shires made headlines for leaving the Country Music Association due to frustration of their lack of acknowledgement for fellow country musician John Prine. Lucinda Williams, also on the ShoalsFest lineup, garnered attention recently as she revealed that she suffered a stroke in 2020 but has made a 100% recovery in the time since. The day before ShoalsFest, October 1, Williams is set to perform at the Mempho Music Festival, another festival with a brief history, with its inaugural event taking place in 2017.
Photo credit: Sharon Alagna