Secret Stages is set for Aug. 7 + 8. Look at Birmingham’s festival through the decade!

Sammus at the Birmingham Festival.
Sammus is an underground rapper who came all the way from Philadelphia for 2018’s Secret Stages Festival. Photo via Secret Stages by Tyler Woods.

For nine years, Birmingham residents have been pretty bad about keeping a secret—and we won’t stop spilling for year ten. Secret Stages, a favorite under-the-radar Magic City music festival, announced it will take place August 7 and 8 of 2020.

Check out all that Secret Stages has done in the past 10 years, and where some of the artists are now!

It was cool before secret music festivals were cool.

Take a seat, the most stressful part of attending this festival is trying to decide which artist was your favorite. Photo via Secret Stages by Kelsey Freeman.

If we can learn anything from our Spotify 2019 Wrapped, it’s that we need to listen to some new music. This is coming from someone who listened to Rainbow Kitten Surprise for 23,068 minutes out of the decade, and 29 hours out of the year.


Luckily, this Birmingham music festival encourages you to learn about new bands, rather than going to see someone you spent 29 hours this year listening to. Developing artists don’t always get their time to shine, which is a shame because Alabama is filled with talented musicians. However, the festival features bands from all across the country.

Where are Secret Stages’ artists now?

It’s never too early (or late) to put on your dancing shoes! Photo via Secret Stages by by Josh Weichman.

2017: Snail Mail

Lindsey Jordan, a.k.a. Snail Mail, performed at Secret Stages in 2017. Last year she had a featured article in Rolling Stone, detailing her growing success and amazing accomplishments as only a teen. Currently, Snail Mail is touring and set to play at the popular festival Shaky Knees in Atlanta!

Snail Mail singing into a microphone.
People may not write much snail mail anymore, but that doesn’t mean they can’t listen to it. Photo via Secret Stages by Tyler Woods.

2012: Shovels & Rope

If you peeped the lineup in 2012 you would find husband and wife duo Shovels & Rope. The indie, folk band has since been back to Birmingham to perform in places like Sloss Music Festival. Now, with a new album and 600,000+ listeners on Spotify, you’re likely to catch them touring across the country.


2011: St.Paul and the Broken Bones

Everyone’s favorite Birmingham-based band was just getting started when they took the stage here in 2011. Today, the band headlines festivals alongside big alternative names like the Head and the Heart.

People all over started to get in on the secret.

Over the last decade, word about the festival spread like a game of telephone. The message was clear: Secret Stages is something different and new, and we should all be paying attention to it.

The “Wall Street Journal” took notice in 2017, calling Secret Stages “an intimate festival where small names offer big sounds.” It pointed out that beneath the contemporary music we hear everyday, there are amazing sounds to be discovered.


Paste Magazine, based out of Nashville, praised it as a “celebration of the South.” It went on to describe the festival as a block party put on by music enthusiasts, that didn’t need huge headliners to make it great.

The Birmingham festival moved locations.

A crowd gathers at the Birmingham festival to sing along.
All smiles, all fun! Secret Stages is great at bringing the community today. Photo via Secret Stages by Tyler Woods.

For the first seven years of the festival, you could find it nestled between First and Second Avenue downtown. However, come 2018 the organizers moved it to the growing art district of Avondale.

The move underscored the festival’s mission of music discovery by putting all the stages on one block. Now, attendees can pop from stage to stage seamlessly and maximize the number of acts they get to see.


Plus, is there really a better place to host a music discovery festival than Saturn? The venue is well-known by artists across the country, underground and more established, as THE place to perform in Bham.

What can we expect this year? That’s one secret they’ll never tell (yet.)

If you’ve never been to the festival, expect more than music. Local food and art vendors come out to give you the best of Birmingham. Photo via Secret Stages by Secret Playground Photography.

The lineup for 2020 hasn’t been released, but you can go ahead and buy tickets here. Weekend passes for the Secret Tier are on sale for $40 and VIP Passes for $75.

There’s a limited number of tickets for the August and 7 and 8 dates! So, if you like what you’ve read so far or are a long-time fan, get yours today! Follow the festival on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook to be in on all their secrets.


Have you been to Secret Stages before? Who was your favorite act? Let us know on social @bhamnow!