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A band performing on the street in Florence, Alabama during the W.C. Handy Music Festival
Alabama Tourism Department
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    Alabama

Alabama’s got soul. Here's where to dance and sing along.

You can find it in the cozy beach towns snug along the Gulf of Mexico or the country roads rolling into Muscle Shoals, cradled between the two musical meccas of Nashville and Memphis. Alabama tells its own story with melodies and lyrics inspired by its storytellers – musicians.

5 Not-to-Be-Missed Music Festivals

Hangout Music Festival

Gulf Shores knows how to throw a party. Beach vibes, headliners and regional talents with cult followings stir up fun at this three-day festival held annually on the local public beach areas. The added bonus? Pristine beaches and a tempting food truck scene.

Sloss Music Festival

Things heat up with over 40 diverse bands on four stages during this two-day festival held at the restored Sloss Furnaces National Historic Landmark in downtown Birmingham. Look for exceptional food stalls representing the city’s culinary scene.

W.C. Handy Music Festival

Held every year in Florence, this festival pays homage to the “Father of the Blues” with a strong lineup of blues and jazz artists and bands. Count on a string of events to coincide with the festival – everything from car shows to street dance parades.

Mardi Gras in Mobile

Parades, parties, food, flying moon pies and fantastic music are the hallmarks of this two-week extravaganza. If you can make it, don’t miss it. It’s the nation’s oldest Mardi Gras celebration and it only gets better every year.

Rock the South

Hosted in Cullman, a small town north of Birmingham, this music fest is billed as the biggest party in the South and Alabama’s largest country music festival. Expect two days of song and dance the first weekend in June. It’s an excellent start to summer.

Crowds anxiously awaiting the next performer at SlossFest

Crowds anxiously awaiting the next performer at SlossFest
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Lauren Coakley

Alabama Coastal Bars & Shacks

Flora-Bama Lounge, Package and Oyster Bar

Known as Jimmy Buffet’s favorite hangout, the Flora-Bama is a legendary beach bar that’s played host to national as well as local musicians and bands. The entertainment complex straddles the Florida-Alabama state line and is considered one of the USA’s last roadhouses. It serves up a variety of food and drinks, including the infamous Bushwacker cocktail, a sweet, frozen concoction featuring rum and coffee liqueur.

Bluegill Restaurant

Drive up or dock your boat on the causeway for nightly live music Tuesday – Friday and all day on the weekends. The food is like the music – consistently good. Don’t leave without trying the flaming oysters.

Flipper’s Seafood and Oyster Bar

Rock out to performances held on the small but mighty Tiki Hut stage every night. Performances range from the blues to classic rock tunes to bold Cajun numbers.

The Wharf Amphitheater at Orange Beach

Nearby shopping and dining make concert going at this breezy amphitheater even more enticing. Major artists like the Dave Matthews Band, Keith Urban and Miranda Lambert have performed here.

The Hangout

Fresh-caught seafood and top-notch musical entertainment pair up nicely at this festive indoor and outdoor beach bar. You can also get playful with a variety of outdoor courtyard games and ping pong and foosball tucked inside.

Lulu’s Gulf Shores

Located on the Intracoastal Waterway, the allure of live music, tasty seafood and a solid beach ambiance make this spot a favorite. Eat like a local and try the Big Fry Seafood basket for two.

Interior view of the famed Flora-Bama Lounge, a beach bar located on the Florida-Alabama state line

Interior view of the famed Flora-Bama Lounge, a beach bar located on the Florida-Alabama state line
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Raphael Tenschert

Getting There

Fly into Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International Airport (BHM) and rent a car to travel to Alabama’s Gulf of Mexico beaches approximately six hours to the Gulf or take a connecting flight to Mobile, which is right on Alabama’s Gulf Coast.