Secret Stages is back! Here’s what you need to know

dazz & brie secret stages 2019
Birmingham is stoked for Secret Stages to return. Photo via David A. Smith/DSmithScenes for Secret Stages

Get ready Birmingham, the 10th Secret Stages Music Discovery Festival is back this year. Read on to learn everything you need to know about this iconic local concert series and what this year will look like.

What is Secret Stages

secret stages 2021
I know its 17 weeks away, but I’m already ready. Graphic via Secret Stages

For the uninitiated, Secret Stages Music Discovery Festival is an annual Magic City concert devoted to under-exposed artists from both Alabama and around the country. Because most of the artists aren’t regular festival headliners, it’s a little under-the-radar, making it a true Birmingham gem.

The “Music Discovery Festival” began 10 years ago in 2011, filling the void after City Stages left town. A celebration of new music from local and national artists, Secret Stages focuses on creating a festival with an intimate setting. Through the use of current music technology, the festival has been able to attract new, upcoming artists from across the US to Birmingham for a weekend of music and fun.

They also partner with local organizations like Scrollworks Youth Music School. The festival gives donations to the school and providing youth bands a chance to also perform at Secret Stages.

Unfortunately, last year the festival was cancelled due to COVID. But this year, with more people covered by vaccines, the festival is back and better than ever.

“The mission is to bring as much fantastic talent to Birmingham as possible while exposing the homegrown talent that we already have. The root of it is that great feeling that you get when you walk into a venue or a bar, you see a band that just blows your mind, and you just have an incredible experience and reaction to it.”

Jon Poor, Events Director

Read more about the their story so far and in this 2019 Bham Now article.

This year’s festival

holly burch secret stages 2019
Check out Holly Burch from the 2019 festival. Photo via David A. Smith/DSmithScenes for Secret Stages

This year, Secret Stages Music Discovery Festival will be held August 6-7, 2021 in Avondale. As always, all stages for the festival are within walking distance from each other, so you can experience as much new music as possible.

While they usually aim for 20% local bands performing in the festival, this year that number will be a little higher due to the pandemic. Because this is the 10th year of the festival (pushed from last year, thanks COVID), some new and exciting things will be added. But in true Secret Stages style, right now they’re a secert.

The line-up has not been announced, and tickets are not yet on sale. Expect these announcements to come in mid-May and early June. Tickets will be sold at a discount until the line-up is announced.

“It’s year 10 for us. Last year was going to be year 10, but we had to cancel. The thing I’m most excited about this year is reaching that 10 year mark. We’ve got some things up our sleeves that are going to be a little different. I just can’t really name them right now, but the festival is going to have a little bit of a different feel.

I think that we’re gonna have some really cool thing. People who have been coming to this festival over the years are going to are going to see it as a little different, and they’re going to be thrilled about it. I’m really excited to present that.”

Jon Poor, Events Director

Looking back on Birmingham’s best music secret

band secret stages 2019
In the words of the great philsopher Spongebob Squarepants, “I’m ready, I’m ready, I’m ready.” Photo via David A. Smith/DSmithScenes for Secret Stages

Past Secret Stages are always a huge hit. The music festival not only brings tons of live music to Birmingham, but also gives smaller artists the chance to gain noterietry and performing experience.

Check out some of the past Secret Stages performers who have hit it big following their Birmingham debut:

Get involved and get ready

rose and west secret stages 2019
I’m so excited to learn about more artists like Rose & West at Secret Stages 2021. Photo via David A. Smith/DSmithScenes for Secret Stages

If you’re interested in helping bring this iconic music festival to life in Birmingham, you can follow this link to volunteer to work the festival. Volunteers get an exclusive crew t-shirt, a weekend pass and a discount on VIP tickets. Plus, it’s your chance to get a behind-the-scenes look at how to run a music festival.

Learn more about Secret Stages Music Discovery Festival on their website, Facebook and Instagram.

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Claire Hancock
Claire Hancock
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