Lara Hudson, Uptown manager, sees this year’s Springfest as a testament to not just local music, but to the city’s artistic community in general. Sure, when it started, the festival, which kicks off at 5 p.m. March 31 at Uptown Market, was designed to put the spotlight on Greenwood’s musical talent, but this year, it’s expanded to include not just five different bands, but local food vendors and artists, as well.
“Springfest was originally started before I was here by several local musicians as a celebration of the music in town,” Hudson said. “But then several years ago, the city actually took it on as an event, and they’ve made couple of changes. They still celebrate our local artists, but they’ve brought in more cultural art to celebrate some of those folks. We’ll have live demonstrations, and we’ll have some artists selling their work, some of which has been featured at the Main & Maxwell Art Gallery.”
The bands on this year’s schedule run the gamut from dance-friendly R&B (Eloveation) to acoustic singer/songwriters (Keller Ridgeway) to melodic guitar rock (Bad Weather States), and they’ll be playing on two stages. The event’s main sponsor is the Harley Funeral Home & Crematory, with additional sponsorship from the City itself and Pepsi-Cola. The food vendors on hand will be Sports Break, Palmetto Peanuts and Chad’s Kitchen.
“Greenwood has such a rich history of music and art,” Hudson said. “We have such a great variety of bands that perform here locally. You can go uptown Thursday through Saturday night and almost every restaurant has live music. You don’t find that in other places like this. All of our restaurants and business owners support those groups and get them to come out and perform, and that support says a lot about our community.”
The music schedule was created by local singer/songwriter Ashby Stokes, who has handled the Uptown Live concert series for the past three years and will perform at Springfest as part of an acoustic duo with Becky Greene.
“I really wanted a diverse picture of Greenwood’s local music scene,” Stokes said. “Because the history of Springfest is as a celebration of local music. The headliner is an R&B band, Bad Weather States does a mix of originals and more contemporary artists like Jason Isbell, and of course you have the acoustic side with Keller Ridgeway. I think it’s a really good bill and we hope to play for a large audience this year just like last year.”
Stokes’ only problem when creating the bill was, in a sense, a good one to have. “The most difficult part was figuring out who to leave out,” he said. “We have great working relationships and most of them are friends. Everybody knows everybody, and I’m kind of right there in the middle.”
Stokes credits the strength of Greenwood’s local music scene to the City’s strong support. “None of this would be happening if the city wasn’t 100 percent behind it,” he said. “When the Uptown renovation began a few years ago, music went hand in hand with it. I can’t tell you how many people from out of town who have come up to me and said, ‘Gosh, you have a great music scene here, how did you do it?’ And it’s happened because the City has taken the time to make music something they feature year-round, really.”
Admission is free, and the event is expected to run until 9 p.m. For information, visit uptowngreenwood.com/events/springfest.