11 Birmingham summer festivals to mark on your calendar, including Sloss Fest

Birmingham, Sloss Fest 2017, Sloss Fest 2018, Sloss Fest, Sloss Music and Arts Festival, Sloss Furnaces
Birmingham, Sloss Fest 2017, Sloss Fest 2018, Sloss Fest, Sloss Music and Arts Festival, Sloss Furnaces
Sloss Fest 2017. Photo via Sloss Music and Arts Festival.

Get out your calendar.  The first day of summer begins June 21 and that means it’s time for a season of Birmingham summer festivals.

Birmingham offers plenty of festivals year round, and they celebrate music, art, food and more. Our Birmingham summer festivals guide will help you plan a season you won’t forget.

Juneteenth
  • June 19, noon-9 p.m.
  • DeBardeleben Park, 1623 Second Ave. N.
  • Free
  • Celebrate African-American history and culture during this event, which will feature, music, food, education and more.
Taco Fest
  • June 30, noon-5 p.m.
  • Avondale Brewing, 201 41st St. S.
  • $5 advance, $10 at the door, children 10 and younger free

What’s Birmingham’s best taco? Cast your vote for the People’s Choice Award, groove to music by J. Grubbs and The Midnight Howlers and DJ Ulises, unleash the children on the kids’ area and raise money for Bare Hands Art Club and Dia de Los Muertos Festival.

Tannehill Independence Day Festival
  • June 30, 11 a.m.-4 p.m.
  • Tannehill Ironworks Historical State Park, 12632 Confederate Parkway, Bessemer
  • $5, $4 seniors, $3 ages 6-11, free ages 5 and younger

Get ready to celebrate the nation’s independence with carnival games, music and more in this historical setting.

Sloss Tech
  • July 13, 8 a.m.-4 p.m.
  • The Lyric Theater, 1800 Third Ave. N.
  • $175 through June 10, $199 thereafter

Cap Birmingham’s Innovation Week with this day-long tech festival. This year will feature Uber Chief Brand Officer Bozoma Saint John, and organizers will announce a full schedule soon.

Sloss Music and Arts Festival

  • July 14-15
  • Sloss Furnaces, 20 32nd St. N.
  • $130-$850

Birmingham’s biggest summer festival has only grown in prestige with each passing year. The music is as hot as the temperature, with headliners that include Arcade Fire, Chris Stapleton, Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit, Griz and many, many more.

Float Your Boat Summer Festival
  • July 21, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
  • Turkey Creek Nature Preserve, 3906 Turkey Creek Road, Pinson
  • Free, admission to races

Cool down at Turkey Creek. The Float Your Boat Festival includes balsa wood boat races, an ice-cream giveaway and, of course, swimming.

Birmingham, Avondale, Secret Stages, music festivals, Secret Stages Music Discovery Festival, Snail Mail, musicians, artists, Birmingham summer festivals
Richard Daniel McLin. Photo via Secret Stage’s Facebook page.
Secret Stages Music Discovery Festival
  • Aug. 3, 5-11:55 p.m.; Aug. 4, noon-11:55 p.m.
  • Downtown Birmingham loft district
  • $30 weekend passes, $65 VIP passes; price increase closer to event

You may not know their names now, but the 60-plus bands that take the stage this weekend are primed for discovery. Don’t believe us? Take a look at the event’s past performers to see how far they’ve come.

Sidewalk Film Festival
  • Aug. 21-26
  • Downtown Birmingham theater district
  • $65 weekend pass, $195 VIP pass
Four independent film connoisseurs stand outside Sidewalk Film Festival 2017. Photo by Karen Downs for Sidewalk Film Festival via Facebook.

Sidewalk marks 20 years of independent cinema. The festival has developed a national reputation for bringing notable films to Birmingham’s 10 venues.  The festival will announce its full lineup in July.

Labor Day Celebration and Moon Pie Eatin’ Contest
  • Sept. 3, 8 a.m.-5 p.m.
  • Tannehill Ironworks Historical State Park, 12632 Confederate Parkway, Bessemer
  • $5, $4 seniors, $3 ages 6-11, free ages 5 and younger

Barbecue and Moon Pies are center stage during this historic site’s annual Labor Day celebration. Expect down-home music, too!

Artwalk
  • Sept. 7, 5-9 p.m.; Sept. 8. 9 a.m.-4 p.m.
  • Downtown Birmingham loft district
  • Free

Downtown Birmingham becomes an art party during the Friday night of the annual Artwalk. Come Saturday, it’s time for a family friendly art stroll. Take in more than 100 artists, plus the food, music and fun you expect of the Birmingham’s summer festivals.

Magic City Mac and Cheese Festival
  • Sept. 9, 1-4 p.m.
  • Brookwood Village, 780 Brookwood Village
  • $15 early bird, $20 day of, $5 children 6-12, children 5 and younger free

Mac and cheese? Yes, please! This second-year event will raise money for Community Grief Support.

What are your favorite Birmingham summer festivals?

Author: Carla Jean Whitley

One of Carla Jean Whitley's prized possessions is a postcard from Birmingham's long-gone Terminal Station. That's because she's a proud Magic City native who reflects on the city's imperfect past while embracing its present-day progress. Carla Jean is the author of "Birmingham Beer: A Heady History of Brewing in the Magic City," "Balancing Act: Yoga Essays" and "Muscle Shoals Sound Studio: How the Swampers Changed American Music." Follow her on Twitter and Instagram @inkstainedlife.