Sam Shugart is using his skills and resources to bring bigger and better music and arts entertainment to Southwest Georgia.
ALBANY While the doubters kept expressing their doubts and the naysayers kept up a steady stream of negativity, Sam Shuggart and his core planning team for the SOWEGA Music & Arts Festival Georgia Throwdown never doubted for a minute they’d have a solid lineup for the three-day festival scheduled Oct. 12-14 at the Exchange Club Fairgrounds.
Certainly they wanted things to come together quicker, but Shugart and Co. refused to deviate from their plan to bring a quality entertainment event to Southwest Georgia.
The team has a few details yet to iron out with some of the headliners who will be part of the Throwdown, but the long struggle to put together a lineup is down to those few details.
“What people have to understand is this ain’t no 6-year-old’s birthday party,” Shugart said Friday. “This is the Georgia Throwdown, and we have to have the kinds of artists who will bring people to the fairgrounds.
“And when you go after those kinds of acts, you’ve got a lot to deal with: management teams, lawyers, production teams, riders, production riders. But we’ve stuck with our plan for this festival, and we believe it’s going to be something the people are going to love being a part of.”
Looking for an expert helping hand to land some of the big-name acts he and his team sought, Shugart went to the best: Dan Merker with Huka Entertainment, the Mobile, Ala.-based team that plays a big part in putting together Gulf Shores, Ala.’s Hangout Festival, named the best such festival in the country.
“We’ve been working since December to put the Throwdown together, but at a certain point it outgrew me,” Shugart said. “I’m smart enough to know that when you get in that type situation, you go and get the best. We brought Huka on board, and they’ll be boots on the ground now throughout the entire process.”
Shugart promised to have minor details for festival headliners ironed out this week, and he’ll announce those artists as soon as he does. Meanwhile, he and his team announced the addition of 30 more artists for the Throwdown schedule, including national pop/alternative artist Uncle Kracker and Albany-based rock and roll veterans Messendger.
Also added to the three-day lineup are Unbreakable Bloodline, Kristen Kelly, Ben Wells, Stephen Harrell, the Ryan West Band, Hwy 55, Faith Jackson, Colby Dee, the Neal Lucas Band, Unbroken, the Mathis Brothers, Wainwright Applegate, Besty Kingston & the Crowns, Meow KaPow, Frank William Dremmel, Amp Up the Music, Abigail Rose, Broken Glass, the Ben Sutton Band, Caitlyn Guiterrez, Mac George, Rod Holt, Lane Oliver, Spencer Bell, One Too Many Mornings, Destiny Brown, the Deadfields and Spong.
“That’s a strong group of regional artists, but we’re not through by a long shot,” Shugart said. “You’re going to have some big announcements to make in the next few days.”
Tickets for the festival, which are $45 for single days and $85 for a weekend pass, are on sale at www.georgiathrowdown.com.
One of the Throwdown’s previously announced performers, rising country star Easton Corbin, will celebrate the release of his second albim, “All Over the Road,” on Tuesday with a live appearance on ABC television’s “Good Morning America.” Corbin will sing his current Top 10 hit “Lovin’ You Is Fun.”
“Great American Country” will also feature the rising star with the premiere of “Introducing: Easton Corbin,” which will debut today at 9 p.m.
Other stars already announced for the Throwdown include Drive-By Truckers, the Peach Pickers — featuring Albany-born Dallas Davidson and Valdosta’s Rhett Akins — Colt Ford, Corey Smith and Col. Bruce Hampton.