Secret Stages Music Discovery Festival is a multi-genre music event that takes place in Birmingham, Alabama. As the name suggests, the festival is meant to serve as a platform for talented, emerging artists and bands. It helps festival-goers discover music that may have previously gone under the radar.
The event was first held in 2012. It showcases national, regional, and local musicians who are creating waves with their unique sounds. Since its inception, it has featured artists like Hiss Golden Messenger, Rivers Langley, Silver Tongues, Bear Medicine, Captain Kudzu, Culture Vulture, Ben Ricketts, Motel Mirrors, Aaron Burdett Band, Molly Parden, Amanda Glasser, Kadesh Flow, and New Love Crowd.
More than 50 bands perform over two days at various venues in Avondale, one of the city's most vibrant neighborhoods. It was previously held in the city's Loft District. Many of the artists who have played at Secret Stages Music Discovery Festival have gone on to achieve international success.
The lineup features different genres of music, and the crowd is as diverse as the performances. It feels more like an intimate block party rather than a large festival. The hospitality that the region is famous for is evident everywhere, from the welcoming crowd to the delicious southern food. Secret Stages welcomes guests of all ages, but families will want to take note that some event locations have age restrictions.
Secret Stages Music Discovery Festival passes can be purchased online or directly at the venue. Patrons can choose between General Admission Day Passes, General Admission Weekend Passes, and VIP passes. VIP pass holders have access to an exclusive VIP lounge in addition to the various venues. Advance Weekend Passes typically cost around $40, and Advance VIP passes cost around $75. Purchasing your tickets ahead of time is recommended since a tiered pricing strategy is followed. Some of the venues are open to guests of all ages, while others have restrictions.
The Secret Stages Festival takes place at various locations in Birmingham, with its concerts usually within walking distance from each other. It's a good idea to park your vehicle in the city center and get around on foot if you plan to drive near the venues. I-20 and I-65 are likely to be included in your route to Central Alabama and into Birmingham.
Motorists may find that the only option is to use the metered street parking in the neighborhoods and the surrounding areas of the concert venues. Get there well ahead of time so that you can avoid parking too far away from the main festival area. If you're driving a larger rig, you may want to leave it safely parked at your campsite and make your way to the concerts using public transportation.
Birmingham has a well-developed public transportation system. You can get to the festival location by taking one of the buses operated by the Birmingham-Jefferson County Transit Authority (BJCTA). These are pretty frequent, and the closest stop is less than a mile away. You can also use a taxi or ride-hailing service to get around Birmingham.
There are plenty of attractions in and around Birmingham, making it a great place for an RV vacation. While onsite camping options are not offered as part of the Secret Stages Music Discovery Festival, you'll have several RV parks and campgrounds to choose from in the area.
Oak Mountain State Park is about 25 miles from the festival area. The sites come with full hookups and WiFi. There are also a ton of activities you can enjoy at the park, including boating, hiking, and fishing. Tannehill Ironworks Historical State Park is another good option that offers well-equipped sites. It is about a 45-minute drive from the festival.
Secret Stages Festival venues are generally located within walking distance of each other. So, once you get to the area, you can easily get from one point to the next on foot. Patrons with disabilities can get around using manual or motorized wheelchairs and scooters on the street paths. The degree of accessibility within the venues may vary from one to the next.
Most of your fellow festival-goers will be dressed casually in summer clothing. Complete your outfit with a pair of sunglasses and a hat to protect yourself from the sun. Fans can also support the event by donning festival merchandise. There will be some fun clothing available for purchase, or pack items that represent your favorite musicians.
Take a small bag or backpack with all your essentials for the day. Selfie sticks, GoPros, and professional audio or video recording equipment will not be allowed in the venues. Outside food and beverages are also banned in most of the venue locations. Carry a small amount of cash since some of the vendors may not accept cards.
In the past, there has been a single outdoor stage, with other performances taking place on the indoor stages. Secret Stages Music Discovery Festival happens within the community of Birmingham, often with a variety of venue environments. While many of the activities are family-friendly, some locations have age restrictions for entry, so keep this in mind if you're traveling with children.
Set up your campfire and cook delicious Southern dishes like skillet cornbread or a shrimp boil while you camp in Alabama. Open fires may not be allowed if there is a burn ban in effect, so its good to have a backup plan. Take a small portable grill and refill your gas cylinder so you can use the stove in your RV. Fill up your motorhome cupboards on the way or once you reach Birmingham.
If you're too tired to cook after the day's festivities, you can always head to one of the many restaurants in the area. The Avondale area of Birmingham is dotted with some of the city's best eateries, from small diners frequented by locals to hidden speakeasies. You'll also be able to try other cuisines like Indian, Mexican, and Chinese.
The warm southern hospitality that the city is known for is reflected in the food available at the Secret Stages Music Discovery Festival. Guests can indulge in classic comfort dishes made with love. Each of the venues will have their own unique offerings, so guests may have a multitude of options to choose from during the festival.
Private security personnel will be present at all the venues during the Secret Stages Music Discovery Festival. Bag and belongings will be checked at the entrances, so avoid carrying any banned items. You'll need to produce a valid ID to purchase alcohol. Anyone observed disrupting the peace or being disrespectful of others will be escorted out by security.
The festival takes place in the summer, so go prepared for the heat. Rain is unlikely, and temperatures typically range in the high-80s during the day and the mid-70s at night in Alabama. Since most of the concerts take place indoors, a little rain will not get in the way of the festivities.
Only basic first aid will be available at the venues. You can approach the festival staff if you need assistance. In the case of a medical emergency, the organizers request that patrons call 911. The nearest medical center is less than a mile away from most of the venues with pharmacy options less than three miles away.