One of Birmingham’s best-kept secrets just went public. The Secret Stages lineup was announced today, and I’m genuinely impressed. The bill for this year includes quality rap, rock, country and more. We listened to all the artists on this year’s lineup and chose our favorites.
What is Secret Stages?
Secret Stages is a two-day music discovery festival that highlights underexposed Alabama and national artists. More than anything, it’s a celebration of Birmingham’s thriving music scene.
Secret Stages is held in the iconic Avondale neighborhood. All of the festival’s venues are within walking distance of each other.
Secret Stages is on August 6 & 7 this year. You can purchase tickets here.
Here are some of the artists I’m most excited to see this year!
With her mellow yet enchanting indie pop, Becca Mancari makes my list for personal favorites at Secret Stages this year. Mancari’s most recent album, The Greatest Part explores being gay in a fundamentalist Christian household. Mancari also played a sold out tour with Brittany Howard as a part of the supergroup Bermuda Triangle. I can’t wait to hear Mancari’s impressive body of work in person.
Armand Hammer is a big win for Secret Stages. The rap duo recently collaborated with legends like Earl Sweatshirt and The Alchemist. They combine a powerful flow with stirring imagery, thereby creating accessible poetry. Armand Hammer stands out from other rappers focused on streams rather than quality. I’m sure the duo’s show will be beautiful and thought-provoking.
The Blips are Birmingham’s own rock supergroup. Birmingham legends Taylor Hollingsworth, Will Stewart, Chris McCauley, Wes McDonald and Eric Wallace make up the group of Alabama punks. The quickly emerging band has garnered praise from Rolling Stone India and Little Stevie’s Underground. The Blips put on a loud and energetic show, which will make for an amazing Secret Stages crowd.
Tuscaloosa born and raised Cipherella sports an old school flow over modern beats. In 2013, Cipherella moved to New York City to solidify herself as an artist. She managed to do just that, and is now a powerful rapper who never doubts her own talent. I bet Cipherella will return to her home state with an empowering and show-stopping performance.
As a longtime Houndmouth fan, I was devastated when I learned Katie Toupin left the band. My disappointment didn’t last long, though–Toupin has already released solo work that combines the best of Houndmouth with her own artistry. I love her song Ghost, which combines Toupin’s molasses-smooth voice with airy guitar riffs and synthesizers.
Thelma and the Sleaze
Thelma and the Sleaze is an infectious celebration of Southern girl rock. After listening to Knife Fight, I’m officially a “creeper,” the band’s affectionate nickname for their fans. In 2019, Thelma and the Sleaze played an impressive 100 shows, gaining fans along the way. I know they’ll find even more creepers at Secret Stages.
At only 17, Logan Halstead is an incredibly promising musician. He has lyrics and a sound reminiscent of the great Tyler Childers. Halstead sings about the struggles of mountain life and mining, which are both relatable themes here in Birmingham. Head to Halstead’s show for quality country and heartwrenching songwriting.
I barely scratched the surface of all the amazing acts coming to Secret Stages this year. 24 emerging artists are performing at the can’t-miss festival. See you there!
Who are you excited to see at Secret Stages? Tag @bhamnow and dance with us!