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Hank Williams Festival to draw over 1,500 visitors to town of Georgiana

Country Music Hall of Fame

Over 1,500 people are expected to attend the Hank Williams Festival this weekend in Georgiana.

The 44th annual festival falls on what would have been the 100th birthday of the famed country music icon. The event will run from Friday evening to Saturday evening in the hometown of legendary country music singer Hank Williams.

It will include acts by country artists from around the United States. Other amenities include food vendors and free admission to the Hank Williams Boyhood Home and Museum with the purchase of a festival ticket.

The event advertises itself as the “friendly festival, where cokes are still only $1.” Organizer Gerald Hodges explained what makes this festival stand apart from others.

“There’s this closeness among people who come,” said Hodges. “It won’t be crowded. [There will be] plenty of food vendors, plenty of craft vendors. I guarantee you folks will treat you nice, and you will go away realizing it’s the ‘friendly festival.’”

The first Hank Williams festival concert was held in Mt. Olive in the late 1960’s and was later moved to Georgiana in the early 1970’s. The event was soon accompanied by singing and dancing in the streets.

Hodges said he believes that the festival’s commitment to the spirit of Williams’ music is also what makes it unique.

“The music is still the same. It’s like it was in 1993,” said Hodges, “It’s honest, hardworking people that loved ole’ hank and love to be with other Hank Williams fans.”

Hodges also described the international reach of Hank Williams’ music. He cited Swedish musician Edward Johansson and his band, Edward and the Hayriders. The band regularly covers Hank’s music and cites him as an influence.

“Hank’s music—his style of music, and his words and songwriting—has something very basic that goes beyond the borders of countries, you know? And it touches the peoples’ souls.”

Tickets can be purchased at the door for $20 today and $40 Saturday. Gates open at 2 p.m. Friday and 8 a.m. Saturday.

Ben Smith is a student at the University of Alabama pursuing his COM-J masters degree. He's also an intern in the Alabama Public Radio newsroom.
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