BayFest provides entertainment by not only presenting nationally known headliners, but also by showcasing homegrown talent. The lineup is structured to include a fifty/fifty mix of national artists and regional/local acts. Local and regional artists are intermingled on the headlining stages and also appear on the other stages. Additional artists on the line up include: Dennis Nelson with Kelly O’Neal, Top of the Orange, StereoHype, the Beat Daddys, Highly Kind and Johnny Barbato and the Lucky Doggs.
Each of the nine BayFest stages offers different music. The three headlining stages -- Pepsi, Miller, and at&t/IP Hotel and Casino -- feature classic rock, country, adult contemporary, alternative rock, hip-hop and R&B. The Café Stage provides a café style setting with bistro tables and unplugged music. The Jazz Stage line up stresses all local and regional talent featuring the best sounds of brass and percussion on the coast. While Gospel Stage performers are mostly local and regional groups, some nationally known acts perform too. In 2006, Mighty Clouds of Joy gave one of the most popular performances at the festival on this stage. The Electronica stage is an all-DJ stage popular for its in-the-street dance floor. The Launching Pad stage features up-and-coming artists. Some well known alumni include Taylor Hicks and Three Doors Down. “You never know who you’ll see on the Launching Pad. You could be watching the next platinum-record recording artist,” says BayFest organizer Bobby Bostwick.
The children’s activities area and an entertainment stage provide little festival goers and their parents some quality family time. Kids have a chance to show their artistic talents with an art creation center sponsored by the Mobile Museum of Art. Dauphin Island Sea Lab will present their “Touch Lab!” Also offered: a petting zoo, face painting, a U.S. Marine Corps exhibit, kids karaoke, caricature and cut-out silhouettes by a professional artist, balloon clowns, sidewalk chalk, and beanbag tosses. For a complete listing of children’s activities and entertainment on the children’s stage visit www.bayfest.com. Children under 12 get in free when accompanied by a ticket-holding adult.
Organizers recently made some new announcements about this year’s festival to improve the experience for festival goers. The site layout has been reevaluated to make it easier for crowds to navigate their way to the different stages, food areas, and restrooms. The website, www.bayfest.com has been completely overhauled with a new look, updated graphics and new user-friendly features. These include a “create your own schedule” section, parking and transportation information, ATM access information, ADA information and a “what to expect and what not to bring” section. Back by popular demand are the large video screens at headlining stages. The screens measure 15 feet tall and 20 feet wide. Professional camera operators cruise the stage area to offer crowds different angles of performers. The video screens, which produce high quality digital images, will also allow crowds to see performances from further away. Performances on video screens are planned for evening concerts on headlining stages.
The festival takes place in Mobile’s historic downtown area. Recent years have drawn estimated crowds of between 150,000 and 225,000 each year. Mobile Bay Monthly says, “BayFest surpasses Mardi Gras as the city’s largest event.” Coastal Living Magazine calls BayFest one of the “10 Fabulous Fall Festivals on the Coast.” Southeast Tourism Society calls it one of the “Top Twenty Events in the Southeast.” Weekend passes are available for $35 at www.bayfest.com. One-day passes can be purchased at the gate for $25. Children under 12 get in free when accompanied by a ticket-holding adult.
For more information, directions and a complete artist line-up, please visit www.bayfest.com.
Tickets: Weekend passes are available for $35 at www.bayfest.com. One-day passes can be purchased at the gate for $25. Children under 12 are free accompanied by a ticket-holding adult.
Hours: Friday 6:30 p.m. – midnight Saturday 2 p.m. – midnight Sunday 2 p.m. – 10 p.m.
Accommodations: Specialty rates are offered at two downtown hotels: o Radisson Admiral Semmes Hotel is located two blocks from the BayFest entrance. The Radisson is offering a special price of $109 per night during BayFest. Amenities include: coffee maker, hair dryer, iron/ironing board, free Internet, and complimentary health club privileges. o The Riverview Plaza Hotel (soon to be a Renaissance Hotel) offers accommodations at $189 per night with a two-night minimum (Friday or Saturday arrival). Amenities include: coffee maker/tea service, hair dryer, iron/ironing board, luxurious bedding and stunning views of sparkling Mobile Bay. On site dining available.
Parking and Transportation: Organizers suggest parking at the Mobile Civic Center for $5 and taking the free MoDa shuttle from the Civic Center to the gates. MoDa also services surrounding hotel parking garages.
Gateways are located on State Street, St. Francis Street and at the corner of Royal Street and Conti Street.
ADA Info: Wheelchair viewing areas at Miller and at&t / IP Stages All gateways are handicap accessible. Some acts will be interpreted for the hearing impaired, list available in the on-site guide and on website as available.
What To Expect: Patrons MAY NOT bring coolers, backpacks or outside food and beverages. Patrons MAY bring lawn chairs. Purses and fanny packs are allowed, but expect to open them for security at the gates. Children’s diaper bags and baby strollers are also allowed.
Final Radio Avalon Jazz Tent Line-up
Friday, October 5 6-7pm - Roman Street (Nouveau Flamenco) 7:30-8:30pm - Tom Cherry Trio (Traditional Jazz)
Saturday, Ocober 6 2-3pm - Gregg Brown (Acoustic) 3:30-4:30pm - Jazzin in the School Clinicians (Standards) 5-6pm - Vibration Configuration (Rock/Funk Fusion) 6:30-7:30pm - Shane Philen Quartet (Contemporary Jazz)
Sunday, October 7 2:30-3:30pm - Murphy High School Jazz Band (Contemporary Jazz) 4-5pm - Jim Armstrong (Jazz Standards) 5:30-6:30pm - Joe Occhipinti Big Band (Swing)