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From the Video Archives:

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Music Festival History

Click to watch
Father of the Blues

Click to watch
Handy's First Music Teacher

Handy Playing St Louis Blues

Welcome to the official website of the W.C. Handy Music Festival!

Make plans now to attend this year’s
W.C. Handy Music Festival
July 20
th through 29th, 2018.

Thanks to our sponsors who have already contributed to the upcoming 2018 Festival!

Colbert County Tourism and Convention Bureau

Miss out on getting a Festival T-shirt this year? Don't despair, our ebay store is open and ready for business! Many sizes to choose from in our store, 2017 and previous years too. Click below to see all we have to offer!
(Local purchase/pickup in Florence is available in our office on Court Street)

 Contact the W.C. Handy Music Festival at any time by mail at: 
Music Preservation Society, Inc.
P.O. Box 1827
Florence AL 35631,
By phone:
Office: 256-766-7642

Drew White, Executive Director: 256-577-1363,
on Facebook,
or at  

You can also drop by to visit our office at:
 409 North Court Street
Suite #11
Florence, AL

Festival News and Updates


Become a
"Friend of the Festival"!

The Music Preservation Society Inc., which sponsors the W. C. Handy Music Festival every year, is a 501 c(3) non-Profit organization. We are heavily reliant on gifts, donations and grants to organize and present the Festival annually. As a Friend of the Festival you can help ensure that this event continues uninterrupted for years to come. Please click on the PayPal button below and contribute today.
All donations are 100% tax deductible.

Handy Festival concessions are available by calling 256-766-7642, or 256-394-8674.
T-shirts can also be found at:

Florence Lauderdale Tourism Office
McFarland Park
200 Jim Spain Drive
Florence, AL 35630

W.C. Handy Home & Museum
620 W. College Street
Florence, AL 35630

Ye Olde General Store
219 North Seminary street
Florence, AL 35630

Counts Brothers Music
713 Waverly Avenue
Muscle Shoals, AL 35661

Internet Access during the Festival for the Headquarters Office was provided by the Muscle Shoals Public Library. Thanks to Denita Lester and Christina Johnson for their help in getting us online!

The Music Preservation Society, Inc. proudly presents its annual ten-day series of events designed to preserve, promote, and present the music of northwest Alabama (also known as the "Shoals" area). The W.C. Handy Music Festival was named in honor of William Christopher Handy, the "Father of the Blues", who was born in 1873 in Florence, Alabama. The award-winning W. C. Handy Music Festival has been held each year since 1982 and has been recognized, among other honors, as:

  • Alabama Event of the year
  • Top Ten Event in Alabama by Alabama Bureau of Tourism and Travel
  • Top Twenty Event by Southeast Tourism Society
  • Top 50 Must-See Alabama Festivals for the Year of Music
  • Top 100 Event in North America by the American Bus Association
  • Alabama Mountain Lakes Peak Award Winner
  • Three-time Cultural Olympiad Designee
  • Appalachia/National Geographic Geo-Tourism Featured Site
  • Local Secret! Big Find! by
  • Winner of numerous Addy awards for the Festival campaign by Shoals Advertising Federation


Two of the Shoals area's greatest assets are our rich musical heritage, and the natural beauty that surrounds us. Keeping outdoor events litter free allows us to showcase both of these assets. The objective of the N Harmony with Nature initiative, launched during the 2011 W. C. Handy Music Festival, was to promote environmental stewardship by reducing litter and waste, and emphasize the value of recycling. The initiative was a tremendous success and was designated as the top project for Northwest Alabama Resource, Conservation and Development Council (RC&D) and for the State of Alabama.

Our goal is to build on the success of the previous W. C. Handy Music Festivals by promoting the reduction of litter and waste, not only for our outdoor events, but also for indoor events. We are asking all of our Festival attendees, including members of our community, and visitors to our area, to help us in our efforts by disposing trash in the marked bins that will be provided at most events.

For more information about N Harmony with Nature, visit


Each ton of recycled paper can save 17 trees, 38 gallons of oil, three cubic yards of landfill space, 4,000 kilowatts of energy, and 7,000 gallons of water!



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