GULF SHORES – The poster art has been set, the vendors are rolling in, and now get ready for some old friends and soon-to-be favorites to take the stage at the 50 th -Annual National Shrimp …
GULF SHORES – The poster art has been set, 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-Annual National Shrimp Festival Oct. 12-15. Spread out over a variety 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 in the headliner position for Saturday evening (Oct. 14) on the East Stage is ‘70s Southern rock group Wet Willie, featuring lead singer and Alabama native Jimmy Hall. Wet Willie’s origins go back even farther than the Shrimp Festival’s. The group formed just 50 miles northwest of Gulf Shores in Mobile during the summer of 1969.
The group captured audiences’ attention while opening for The Allman Brothers Band in 1971. Momentum continued with chart toppers like “Keep on Smilin’” and “Weekend” hitting national airwaves. Wet Willie’s contributions to the state were recognized in 2018 as the group was inducted into the Alabama Music Hall of Fame, a venue at which 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 accomplishes that,” said Tim Brown, the festival’s entertainment chairman. “Jimmy and his crew continue to entertain throughout the country, and we know folks are gonna have a great time when he takes the stage.”
This isn’t Wet Willie’s first time at the Shrimp Festival. The group headlined the 28th edition of the event in 1999. This also isn’t lead singer Jimmy Hall’s first time passing through coastal Alabama this year, as he took the stage at The Wharf in Orange Beach this May as a member of Hank Williams Jr.’s touring band.
Many longtime festival favorites will be performing throughout the weekend, including “The Voice” final-four contestant Kirk Jay, The Velcro Pygmies, Dr. Zarr’s Amazing Funk Monster and tribute bands performing the hits of Queen, AC/DC, Bon Jovi and Journey. Concerts will run throughout the four days of the festival on two stages, one at each end of the grounds 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 part of this festival since its inception, and there’s really nothing better than taking it all in,” Festival Chairman Andrew Hart said. “You look behind you at either stage, and you’re just a couple hundred yards away from the Gulf of Mexico. It’s a unique feature that we’re so privileged to have tied with our event.”
For those looking to get a taste of the vibe that Shrimp Fest sets, a playlist has been created highlighting past headliners and entertainment acts throughout the festival’s history and can be accessed through the homepage of myshrimpfest.com.
Along with the playlist, myshrimpfest.com is home to all the information you need to know on the festival, including the full entertainment lineup, details on activities and a list of vendors.
As always, admission into the Shrimp Festival’s grounds & concerts are free.