It’s Time to Get Your Sloss On!


Sloss Music & Arts Festival puts the Magic City on the national stage. Dont miss a minute of the action happening in one of Birminghams most historic settings.

Event planners for the Sloss Music & Arts Festival (SlossFest) have called the ever-growing, annual music and lifestyle event a “metal playground,” and that sounds about right. Scheduled this year for July 14-15, SlossFest brings out fans from all over the region to watch their favorite bands—up-and-comers and headliners alike—play at Sloss Furnaces, the onetime iron-producing behemoth that is now an historic landmark and popular festival site. So while people will pack the house to see the likes of Arcade Fire, Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit, and more than 40 other great bands and musicians perform on four different stages, they’ll also stay for the experience. There’s the Copper Lounge, presented by Tito’s Handmade Vodka, with a build-your-own lemonade (or other vodka cocktail) bar and life-sized games like Jenga and Connect Four. There’s also a Silent Disco by Feel the Beat Entertainment, where wireless headphones live-feed a dance party right into your ears, and you can switch from one “silent dance party” to another if the mood strikes you. Paying homage to Sloss’ origins, the Sloss Metal Arts Program will offer live-pouring demonstrations and let patrons purchase made-on-site souvenirs. Other choices include cooling off in the Craft Beer Garden, featuring a selection of local breweries; hanging out in the Eno Hammock World at “The Outdoors,” presented by Alabama Outdoors; or shopping for a limited-edition poster in a pop-up shop presented by the American Poster Institute. Finally, if you just need to chill out between shows, take a break in the BBVA Compass Lounge.

All the offstage entertainment is what makes SlossFest more than a series of amazing concerts. It’s a true weekend festival. So show up early and take advantage of the creature comforts while you wait for your favorite band to hit the stage, and maybe discover a new musical gem along the way. 

SATURDAY

Arcade Fire

Canadian-born indie rock band Arcade Fire has won two Grammys (including Album of the Year), seen their 2004 breakthrough Album Funeral named #1 album of the ‘00s, followed by Neon Bible in 2007—which debuted at #2 in the U.K. and U.S.—and The Suburbs, which debuted at #1 in seven different countries. The Daily Telegraph has described Arcade Fire as “the greatest live band in the world, and everybody who sees them knows it.”

Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit

This Rolling Stone headline captures Jason Isbell’s story in a nutshell: “The former Drive-By Trucker blew up his life, then became a master of Southern-gothic heartache.” Born in Green Hill, Ala., Isbell first hit the music scene as part of the Drive-By Truckers but broke with his bandmates in 2007 as he struggled with demons in the bottle. After sobering up, Isbell started recording and playing again with his band, the 400 Unit. Isbell won two Grammys with Something More than Free, and his latest album, The Nashville Sound, has been called “Americana’s most-anticipated album of the year.”

21 Savage

Nominated last year for Best New Arts at the BET Awards, 21 Savage is an Atlanta-based rapper who launched his solo career in 2014 with his first single, “Picky.” His latest is the Issa Album, which also includes production by Metro Boomin as well as Southside, Zaytoven, and DJ Mustard.

Vance Joy

B-Metro writer Lindsey Lowe Osborne writes of Vance Joy onstage as “a show you don’t want to miss, because it’s a show that will make you happy. Joy’s music is bright but rooted—fun but full of heart.” A native of Australia, Joy has toured with Taylor Swift and is currently on tour for his newest album, Nation of Two.

Moon Taxi

The Nashville band has played venues ranging from the Meyerhoff Symphony Hall in Baltimore all the way to Bonnaroo. Rolling Stone has called Moon Taxi’s music “pleasingly cross-bred rock—a little indie, a little proggy, kinda poppy Southern and jammy…” one way of saying you need to catch the show and make up your own mind about Moon Taxi, best known for their smash single “Two High.”

More from the Saturday Lineup:

Vic Mensa, Jai Wolf, Quinn XCII, Big Freedia, Waxahatchee, White Reaper, Walden, *Repeat Repeat, Matt Maeson, Flagship, Arlie, Joel Madison Blount, Dead Fingers, Captain Kudzu, Love Moor, Lady Legs

SUNDAY

Chris Stapleton

A multiple Grammy, CMA, and ACM Award-winner, Kentucky-born Chris Stapleton released not one but two number-one albums last year: From a Room: Volume 1 and From a Room: Volume 2. This year Stapleton keeps up the momentum with “Chris Stapleton’s All-American Road Show” tour, which includes stops in New York at Madison Square Garden, Los Angeles, Chicago and, of course, SlossFest.

GRiZ

Reviewing a live performance by GRiZ in San Francisco last year, Riff magazine said the “floor and balcony shook with energy from the crowd.” His fans expect no less at SlossFest this year—minus the balcony—from GRiZ, who blends his saxophone and vocals with electronic funk. “GRiZ likes to keep us on our toes,” writes 303magazine.com.

St. Paul & The Broken Bones

In David Letterman’s last days as host of “Late Night,” he invited St. Paul and the Broken Bones to perform—and after “Call Me,” he ran out to greet the band with an exuberance he hadn’t shown in quite a while. It was an unspoken endorsement of the Birmingham-based band that continues to generate that kind of enthusiasm from fans everywhere.

The War on Drugs

The War on Drugs, fronted by guitarist and vocalist Adam Granduciel, came on the scene full force with their 2014, critically acclaimed album Lost in the Dream, and now they’re back with A Deeper Understanding, their first major-label album (Atlantic). This is a rock band with its own take on the genre. “Though other contemporary bands have made ambitious and exacting music,” writes The New Yorker, “few are quite so painstaking.”

Louis the Child

Consisting of the Chicago-based EMD duo of Robert Hauldren and Frederic Kennett (Robby and Freddy), Louis the Child brings its “Last to Leave” Tour to SlossFest on Sunday. They may look young enough to be frat boys, but they arrive with the cred of having already played Coachella and Lollapalooza. As Kennett described Louis the Child’s live performance to The Chicago Tribune, “The show’s all about making people smile and dance…to pull us together and say ‘Hey, we’re still America. For this hour and a half, let’s hang out, let’s have a good time. No matter who you are, you’re welcome here.’”

Also on Sunday:

Rainbow Kitten Surprise, Margo Price, Hippie Sabotage, AJR, PVRIS, Nikki Lane, Brent Cobb,  The Spencer Lee Band, Morgan Saint, Super Doppler, The Brummies, Morning Teleportation, Patrick Droney, Schocks, Heath Green and the Makeshifters, Will Stewart, Taylor Hunnicutt

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