It seems more and more things are happening in downtown Birmingham these days. With the success of Railroad Park, the creation of the beautiful, new Regions Field (and its success as well), and of course, the current revamping of the dilapidated Avondale neighborhood, it’s clear that downtown is starting to flourish. There are plenty of things to do on a weekend in and around downtown Birmingham but one event in particular has got the city and its Internet community abuzz, Cask and Drum.
It started on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook a few months back as a complete mystery but now, has an identity as a music, wine, craft beer, and food truck festival with acts like Black Rebel Motorcyle Club, Lord Huron, and Dwight Yoakam playing the stages. “A Social Gathering of Sound and Spirits” is how the marketing gurus of Cask and Drum are describing it. To an outsider it might seem like “just another music festival”, but it’s much more than that.
I sat down with one of the people who helped get the legs under this project, local hero, Will Lochamy. If you don’t know who Will is, then you should. Will is a long time Birmingham resident and radio and television host of the Oh Brother Radio Show and The Iron Bowl Hour, respectively. He’s been involved in several other projects in Birmingham and is a champion of the revitalization of our city. Here’s what he had to say about this heavily buzzed about festival.
BHAMFM: My first question is: How did this idea come about?
Will Lochamy: The fine folks from the Lakeview Association came to Scott Register and asked about doing a music festival. From there, Scott immediately thought of Todd Coder (of Ticketbiscuit) because of his involvement with Hangout and everything else he does. From there, myself and Jeff Clanton were contacted, and that’s kind of how the whole thing came together. You know, there’s been a need for a music festival in Birmingham like this for a long time. This is very different than any music festival that’s happened here. I really do think it’s going to be a unique thing for the whole country, not just Birmingham.
BHAMFM: At this point the early tickets online appear to be sold out, but are there opportunities to buy tix at the gate?
Will: Wow. That’s news to me. There are phases of ticket sales. The prices go up on each phase so people are encouraged to buy tickets earlier. VIP tickets sold out almost immediately. That was very early on. There are three different kinds of tickets and three different phases of ticket sales. There definitely will be another phase, whether that is at the gate or online that last week (before the festival). People still have an opportunity. Don’t give up yet!
BHAMFM :What sets Cask and Drum apart from other music festivals around the South?
Will: I think the layout, for one. It’s on a green space. Other festivals are like that, but for Birmingham that’s unusual. Aside from that, just the lineup and the people who are putting this lineup together: Todd Coder, Scott Register, the folks from Birmingham Mountain Radio. I think the lineup that has come together is so different. You have Black Rebel Motorcycle Club and Dwight Yoakam, and then, Railroad Earth, that are all playing on the same stage on the same day. Each one of those bands is going to bring their own crowd, and yet, that crowd will still enjoy the other bands. So, it’s not like there’s any band that alienates people or anything like that.
BHAMFM: One of the sponsors for the festival is Schaeffer Eye Center. Is this Crawfish Boil 2.0? It’s the same sponsor and original location, so what would make it different from that festival?
Will: It is the same sponsor. Jack Schaeffer is highly involved in a ton of stuff that goes on in town. It’s incredibly different from the Crawfish Boil, and you can see that from just looking at the lineup. And also, while Cask and Drum is in Lakeview, Lakeview actually spans a huge area. So, it’s not in the same place or even in the same area that the original Crawfish Boil was. That was up in the Lakeview Entertainment District. This (Cask and Drum) is down on the green spaces on 1st Avenue South, kind of near Pepper Place, in between Inline Electric and Alabama Ballet. So, really close to Sloss Furnace, just across the railroad tracks. While Schaeffer Eye Center is awesome and a great sponsor and we are super glad to have them on board, the similarities between Cask and Drum and the Crawfish Boil stop there. There’s nothing wrong with the Crawfish Boil, but this is a very different event.
BHAMFM: Looks like the headliner will be Mr. Dwight Yoakam, aka Doyle Hargraves from Slingblade. What made you guys decide to book Dwight on the bill with these other unique acts? Also, what is the likelihood that he will fly off the handle and go off on a long rant like in the movie?
Will: (laughs at my amazing joke) It really just goes back to the Slingblade movie all together. That’s the only reason we wanted him! No, here’s the funny thing, Dwight’s folks actually came to us. Which was, of course, a huge honor and at that point, how in the world would you turn that down? It’s Dwight Yoakam. Here’s what’s so great: I like Dwight Yoakam, my parents like Dwight Yoakam, teenagers can like Dwight Yoakam. So, he’s somebody who just, across the board, you know is going to be accepted by everyone. And a name like Dwight Yoakam. And the hat, that’s a huge part of it.
This is a major Birmingham event in the fall. It’ll be nice outside and you will feel cool hanging around downtown with your friends, drinking and watching live music. Don’t miss Cask and Drum on October 12th. You know you want to get drunk and sing along to “Guitars and Cadillacs“. Don’t deny it.