Hank Williams Music Festival draws crowds despite rainy start

Published 7:00 am Friday, June 7, 2024

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Despite a rainy start on Friday, the 45th Annual Hank Williams Music Festival, held on May 31 and June 1, drew enthusiastic crowds from across the Southeast to celebrate the legacy of the legendary country music artist for which it is named.

The festival, an outdoor event sponsored by the Hank Williams Museum and several local businesses, took place at the five-acre park adjoining the museum. Attendees were encouraged to bring their lawn chairs for a weekend of fellowship, food and great country music.

The event kicked off early on Thursday, May 30, with a concert by Lee and Marie Hart, followed by free karaoke under the Hank Williams Pavilion. The official festivities began on Friday, May 31, with the headlining act, legendary country music band Diamond Rio, drawing a significant crowd despite the initial rain.

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Crenshaw County native Bobby Tomberlin was on hand and stopped by to enjoy the show.

“I live in Nashville now but I’m originally from Luverne,” said award winning songwriter Bobby Tomberlin. “It just so happened, I was headed home to my dad’s and my friends, Diamond Rio, were performing here at the festival. I love the Hank Williams Festival. I’ve performed here before and this was my first concert as a kid.” 

Tomberlin, a Nashville-based songwriter and singer, co-wrote hits like “One More Day” recorded by Diamond Rio, and Darryl Worley’s Top 10 hit “A Good Day to Run.”

On Saturday, June 1, the festival continued with performances by various artists, including Brad Magness, Today’s Yesterday Band, New Vision, and the Burning Bush Family. 

Michael Bush of the Burning Bush Family reflected on his experience performing at the annual festival.

“This is actually our third year here,” Bush said. “I just love the hometown atmosphere and, of course, the tribute to Hank because he was so great at writing songs that crossed gospel into country, and he did it with a lot of conviction and a lot of heart.”

Saturday evening concluded with a highly anticipated performance by country music star Craig Morgan, known for his many chart topping hits like “That’s what I love about Sundays” and “Redneck Yacht Club.”

The festival grounds were bustling with vendors offering a variety of goods, from wood-burned art to custom tumblers and leather works. Food vendors like Woolly Booger BBQ, Dixie Darlins, and Venice Gelato ensured there was no shortage of delicious options, selling everything from fried Oreos and chicken on a stick to pulled pork sandwiches and frozen treats.

The festival’s history of hosting outstanding performers and country music legends, such as The Oak Ridge Boys and Loretta Lynn, continued with this year’s impressive lineup, celebrating the rich musical heritage of Hank Williams and bringing together music lovers from far and wide to enjoy a weekend of country music and camaraderie.