Country music fans looking for a place something to do this weekend need look no further than downtown Douglasville.
The organizers of the three-day Chattahoochee River Country Music Festival are kicking off a “Downtown Showdown” in Douglasville on Friday. Friday's event is the first of three showdowns that will be held on O'Neal Plaza. The other two events will be held on June 12 and June 19.
The country music “Battle of the Bands” events in Douglasville will precede the music festival, slated for July 24-26, at Douglas County’s Foxhall Resort and Sporting Club.
The showdown, which is free and open to the public, is scheduled from 6 to 10 p.m. each night. Audience members will be able to vote for their favorite bands via the festival’s website at http://www.crcmf.com/.
Voting begins Friday and continues through July 3. Each band member who competes in the showdown will receive free tickets to the festival. As far as prizes for the top three bands, the band with the most votes will be paid $1,000 and be able open on the festival’s main stage. The second and third place bands will receive $500 and $250, respectively.
More than 120,000 country music fans and outdoor enthusiasts are expected to flock to Foxhall this summer for the first Chattahoochee River Country Music Festival. The music festival is organized by Celeb-Scene, Inc., a young social media platform and promoting agency based in Paulding County’s Atlanta Film Studios. The festival will feature nationally known country music stars Deana Carter, Brian Collins, the Kentucky Headhunters, The Lacs, J.J. Lawhorn, Lorrie Morgan, Bubba Sparxxx and Jesse Keith Whitley.
In addition to the showdowns in Douglasville, organizers plan to host three events in Carrollton and one in Newnan, according to Scott Powers, managing partner of Douglasville-based experiential marketing agency DriveTerrain and a sponsorship coordinator for the festival.
The Carrollton events will be held on May 30, June 6 and June 26. On June 13, there will be a pub crawl at multiple restaurants in Newnan.
One goal of the showdown is to provide a forum for local bands to play for a larger audience, according to Powers. Another goal is to drive people to the historic downtown business district and promote the festival.
"The experience is sort of a small slice of what will be happening at the Chattahoochee River Country Music Festival," Powers said. "We have some great local bands that are traveling in from as far away as Jacksonville, Florida to compete for a chance to play at the Chattahoochee River Country Music Festival."
In addition to listening to local bands performs, attendees will also have the opportunity to ride a mechanical bull for a chance to win free prizes from sponsors. There will also be ticket giveaways and adult beverages served on the plaza.
"This year for the first time patrons may purchase adult beverages on the plaza and, by a special event permit, are actually able to walk freely as responsible adults throughout the whole plaza with those beverages instead of being restricted to a really small area right in front of the stage," Powers said. "We appreciate our city council for giving us the opportunity to do something really dynamic and fun for the residents of Douglasville in Douglasville."
He then thanked local partner Irish Bred Pub.
"They — with their St. Patrick's Day event and other events — are probably the most experienced of any restaurant with throwing this type of event in our downtown plaza so we appreciate all of the knowledge and experience they bring to the table and their capable staff," Powers said. "They're just a really terrific partner for us."
The Irish Bred Pub is always looking for ways to get involved in the community, according to general manager Mia Birtwhistle.
"We were just really excited when we were approached by the Chattahoochee River Country Music Festival to do an event like this because we're always looking for ways to promote the downtown area — the various tourist attractions and businesses down here," Birtwhistle said. "It was just kind of a great opportunity and great catalyst to bring that type of family fun — something for everybody — to the downtown area."