Country legend John Anderson will be one of the headliners at the Oct. 24-25 Big Pine Music Festival at the Exchange Club Fairgrounds in Albany. Forty-one acts are scheduled to perform at the festival. (Special photo)
ALBANY — There will be a little something for all kinds of music lovers at the eclectic Big Pine Music Festival, planned for Oct. 24-25 at the Exchange Club Fairgrounds.
The 41-act lineup, which was officially announced this week, includes a couple of legends — country’s John Anderson and soul great Clarence Carter — as well as up-and-comers who figure to be among the next wave of singers/songwriters to make their mark, including the duet Shovels & Rope, Chris Stapleton and Drake White, who will appear with his band the Big Fire.
Throw in top regional acts like Highway 55, Saint Francis, Unbreakable Bloodline, The Bo Henry Band and Evan Barber & the Dead Gamblers, and even the most jaded fan would have to admit that $35 early-bird tickets are one of the biggest bargains anywhere around.
“We’ve gotten a bunch of feedback since we announced the festival, and there has been a lot of positive,” festival organizer Evan Barber, a principal with the sponsoring Threeforty: A Creative Group collective, said. “We got a good response to the early-bird tickets, but we’ve still got a few on sale.”
Those tickets, which will remain on sale at the threefortycreative.com website until the supply is bought up, are $35 for two-day passes. Once the early tickets are sold out, two-day passes will be $50. Single-day advance tickets are $30, and day-of prices increase to $35.
“As you might guess, there has been some grumbling on social media, people saying, ‘There should be more big acts,’” Barber noted. “But that’s not what this festival is about. This is a collection of a lot of bands that we (at threeforty) enjoy working with, people who love to play music.
“A lot of people are comparing this to the Throwdown (which had artists such as Lynyrd Skynyrd, Corey Smith, Drive-by Truckers and Big & Rich on the bill), but this is not the Throwdown. It’s a cool festival that has a lot of very good musicians. We’re not coming out and saying ‘We’re the greatest this’ or We’re the biggest that.’ When you do that, you leave room for disappointment. At the end of the day, we want a show where people will say, ‘They did it as cool as they could.’”
Anderson, perhaps best-known for his once-ever-present single “Swingin’,” has scored five No. 1 hits, including “Black Sheep,” “Money in the Bank,” “Straight Tequila Night” and “Wild and Blue.” Soul man Carter can go hit-for-hit with his co-headliner, releasing such Top 40/R&B hits as “Patches,” “Slip Away,” “Too Weak to Fight” and “It’s All in Your Mind.”
Like many who have ascended to superstar status in Nashville, Stapleton has made a name for himself as a songwriter, penning five No. 1 hits. Among them are Luke Bryan’s “Drink a Beer,” George Strait’s “Love’s Gonna Make It Alright,” former Hootie & the Blowfish frontman Darius Rucker’s “Come Back Song” and Kenny Chesney’s “Never Wanted Nothing More,” which topped the country charts for five weeks. Stapleton recently released his own Top 40 hit, “What Are You Listening To?”
The folk duo Shovels & Rope will release their third album, “Swimmin’ Time,” on the day after the Big Pine Festival, while White and Big Fire, who have toured with such luminaries as Eric Church, Bryan and Lynyrd Skynyrd, cracked the country Top 40 in 2013 with their hit “Simple Life.”
“You’ve got two really legendary singers in John Anderson and Clarence Carter, but there’s no doubt some of these other artists are going to make it big,” Barber said. “That’s the cool thing about having artists like this, you kind of grow with them. In a couple of years, people will hear some of these folks’ songs on the radio and say, ‘Hey, that’s that guy that was at the Big Pine Festival.’ We expect to be ahead of the game with some of these artists.”
“This is not going to be a festival for people who say we need ‘bigger acts’ in the lineup. Those are the people you’ll never please. I’m the kind of person that, even if this was just 41 bands that I hear all the time, it’s still worth $35. You’re not going to find a better entertainment bargain than that.”