Nearly 300 musicians will perform at 19 venues during the Sing Out Loud Festival, which will span three weekends in late August and early September. It will be the largest free music festival ever to be held in St. Johns County, which includes the greater St. Augustine area on Northeast Florida’s coast.
While fans across the region are waiting in excitement to see large acts such as Brandi Carlile and The Indigo Girls, another group is looking forward to the event with even more anticipation. More than 130 local artists will play at the festival, giving them a chance to showcase their talent to audiences attending to hear from these headliners.
“Sing Out Loud is so important to the community because there are many local artists who don’t know what to do to get to the next level,” Ryan Murphy, director of the St. Johns County Cultural Events Division said. “It’s really difficult to be a local working musician and actually make a living. So many get stuck in the cycle of playing at bars and small gigs, and they feel like they can’t move beyond that.”
A festival like Sing Out Loud gives starting musicians the tools to develop their musical careers, Murphy said. In addition to giving musicians the opportunity to play at venues like the Backyard at the St. Augustine Amphitheater, Colonial Quarter and the Downtown Plaza, Murphy said he hopes to expand the festival in future years to include workshops and panel discussions with artists and agents. The workshops would help artists on subjects such as booking and planning tours, creating and distributing records and finding opportunities to play at larger shows.
“Sing Out Loud will give local artists tools they need for development,” Murphy said. “That’s a big piece of it — getting artists to connect with people in the industry.”
Christian Powers is a born-and-raised St. Augustine songwriter, guitarist and vocalist. The 20-year-old musician said he’s excited to share his music on a larger scale at the festival.
“Over the past few years, the music scene in St. Augustine has exploded,” Powers said. “I’ve gone from playing covers in bars to doing what I’m going to be doing now — playing my original music on a stage. Sing Out Loud is going to be huge.”
Like many local musicians, Powers has one true goal: to share his passion for music and impact others.
“If I’m playing my own music and people are appreciating it, then I have accomplished what I want to accomplish,” Powers said. “Life goes by so fast, you’ve got to take what you can when it’s there and appreciate everything. That’s my philosophy, and that’s a lot of what I write about. I want people to feel that way when I’m out there playing.”
Musical acts during the festival will include every genre from electronic to five-piece Americana jam sessions. While all events are free and open to the public, music fans can secure reserved seats to the September 9 Main Showcase by donating $5 to OneOrlando via Ticketmaster or by reserving a Sing Out Loud hotel package. Details on securing reserved seats and packages are available online at www.singoutloudfestival.com.
The Sing Out Loud Festival is produced in partnership by the St. Johns County Cultural Events Division, which owns and operates the St. Augustine Amphitheater and the Ponte Vedra Concert Hall, the St. Johns Cultural Council and the Tourist Development Council. The event is presented by Community First Credit Union, which has established a three-year monetary sponsorship commitment.
The festival is the feature event of the Sounds of Summer Celebration, a variety of arts, culture, music and entertainment events scheduled in August and September in St. Augustine and Ponte Vedra. A complete list of Sounds of Summer events is available at www.soundsofsummerevents.com.
EVENT: Community First Credit Union presents Sing Out Loud Festival
DATES: Friday, August 26 – Sunday, September 11
VENUES: St. Augustine Amphitheatre, The Backyard at the St. Augustine Amphitheatre, Colonial Quarter, Downtown Plaza Gazebo, Planet Sarbez, Nobby’s, and more to be announced
Learn more about arts, culture and living history activities in the greater St. Augustine area, by visiting www.historiccoastculture.com.
About St. Johns Cultural Council
The St. Johns Cultural Council is a 501© (3) not-for-profit agency. Under agreement with the St. Johns County Board of County Commissioners, the SJCC provides arts, culture and heritage tourism destination marketing services to the county’s Tourist Development Council (TDC). Funding for marketing services comes from a portion of the county’s bed tax. For more information, call (904) 808-7330 or visit www.stjohnsculture.com.