The Avondale Brewing Company of Birmingham hosted this free, live music event to benefit a non-profit organization called the Black Warrior Riverkeeper in support of the Black Warrior River and its tributaries.
At the festival, attendees were encouraged to contact individuals, such as the president of the University of Alabama and other university employees, to express a desire to prevent the mining of coal from the Shepherd Bend Mine of Tuscaloosa near the Black Warrior River.
Adventure the Great displayed its adventurous folk style on the brewery’s backyard stage along with several local Birmingham bands and artists of a similar genre, such as John and Jacob, the Poison Kitchen and Ryan O’Connor and the Renegade of Folk.
The festival took place from noon until midnight, and it attracted approximately 1,500 to 2,000 local patrons, according to promoter and booker for vendors and artists, Richard Harris of StompBox Medium Booking Agency in Birmingham.
“It was more than I expected. So, basically, it was a huge success,” Harris said.
According to Harris, while the Black Warrior Riverkeeper booth gained the most attention throughout the festival, Shindig Catering’s food truck seemed to have been the most popular eatery out of the event’s 13 vendors.
Food, beverages and art were also made available through the Crestwood Coffee Company, the Avondale Brewery Company’s new outdoor bar and other local businesses and artists, all of whom contributed 10% of their proceeds to the Black Warrior Riverkeeper.
“For me, as a business owner, I feel that when you combine so much media—including art, music and food—for a specific cause, it is more than just another get together,” Harris said. “It brings the community together by supporting each other through local businesses and artists. Separate local entities all under one roof is what I believe was the driving success for this event.”
Before the Avondale RiverFest, Harris booked Adventure the Great for other events around the Birmingham area.
Two years ago, Florence, Ala. native Chandler Jones said he knew he wanted to form a band with specific, uncommon instruments, like the cello, and, throughout a three-week period, he sought out individuals specializing in unconventional instruments and an exceptional style of music.
After several member changes and a change in the band’s name, Adventure the Great now consists of current Auburn students and University graduates, including its singer, Bethany Whitehead; cello player, Sean Bowman of Birmingham; drummer, Chandler “Reno” Reynolds of Hunstville; bass player, Robert Fowler of Daphne; and Jones as its songwriter.
Jones said he was also surprised by the amount of those in attendance.
“The whole day was really fun because the other bands were really nice, and there was a great crowd,” Jones said. “We headlined around 10 p.m., and at that time, there were about 300 people at the stage, which was a lot better than I thought it was going to be.”
The band has a collection of about 15 original songs that they chose from during their set at the festival as to steer away from covering songs, each being longer than the average song.
Adventure the Great recorded an extended play record in Nashville last December consisting of seven songs, and it performs at local venues in Auburn, including the Bloodhound and the Gnu’s Room, as well as venues in downtown Opelika and Waverly.
“We’ve been trying to play out of town as much as possible so that our fan base in Auburn doesn’t get tired of us,” Jones said.
Jones also said the band enjoys performing unplugged, intimate shows at least once a semester by candle light where they tell stories about each of their songs.
The Railyard is a new music venue in downtown Opelika located in an old warehouse where Adventure the Great will gather to perform with other local bands in celebration of local art on Aug. 18.
Fowler said performing at intimate locations such as the Railyard take him and his bandmates back to their roots and remind them of why they decided to play together in the first place.
“You only (perform) from your roots. The blossoms we musically conveyed for the crowd at RiverFest hopefully represented the beauty of Auburn, where the earth is rich in creativity and passion,” Fowler said.