We thoroughly enjoyed the inaugural weekend of Sloss Music and Arts Festival held at Sloss Furnaces National Historic Landmark in Birmingham, Alabama.
Lineup – ✭✭✭✭✩
I loved the lineup. I just wish it was a little more unique. It featured many artists who could be seen at multiple other festivals this and last Summer.
Location – ✭✭✭✭✭
So having a festival at an old furnace is doper than it sounds. I am a sucker for festival themes. I love it when festivals have stage names that coordinate with the theme. Sloss had the Blast Stage, Steam Stage, and Shed Stage instead of something like the Coke Stage, Bud Light stage, etc. Festivals are suppose to be unworldly places, that let you step out of reality.
Dates – ✭✩✩✩✩
Sloss, why you gotta be the same weekend as Forecastle?
Schedule – ✭✭✭✭✭
Most festival’s schedule create time conflicts on purpose. I know they do it for crowd control, but I’m all for smaller festivals that allow you to see as many bands as possible. Although time conflicts are inevitable when there’s 3 or more stages. Sloss’ schedule allowed the patron to see as many acts as possible.
Stage Layout – ✭✭✭✭✭
I loved Sloss’ stage layout! The two main stages, Blast and Steam were across from each other. So as soon as one band finished you could just turn yourself around to see the next one. Festivals are exhausting, no one has the time or energy to trek from stage to stage.
Price – ✭✭✭✭✭
Let’s do the math. I was very casual and I didn’t try to jam-pack my schedule and I still managed to see 19 bands. Even if you waited until the day of to purchase your ticket for $150 (a Level 1 ticket was only $105) $150 divided 19 is $7.89. Less than 8 bucks per band is an amazing deal! A ticket to see The Avett Brothers here in Chattanooga was $40-$45 plus fees.
Volunteer/Street Team – ✭✭✭✭✭
Speaking of prices… Some smart concert hopper put in a little work and got to enjoy the festival for free.99. I did have friends who able to attend the festival for free thanks to street teaming for AC Entertainment. A weekend pass cost 8,000 points, a Sloss poster run earned you 6,000, so street teamers could earn enough points and then some after completing 2 poster runs. Sign up to earn passes to various festivals and venues by street teaming here. Now I didn’t think to ask any volunteers about their experience and at the time of writing this review I couldn’t find any information on the official website about volunteering.
Arts – ✭✭✭✭✩
Since it was called Sloss Music and Arts Festival I think it should have featured more art.
Accessibility – ✭✭✭✩✩
My only accessibility issue was that I could get up or down a hill where some of the vendors were located without assistance. Usually, I’m rolling solo so I need to be able to get any and everywhere the festival wants a patron to be and spend money. Also, I think there the should have been more information detailing the access program on the website or a particular contact person listed for access concerns. Festival goers with disabilities get scared off from attending a festival if they are worried that it isn’t going to be accessible. There were viewing platforms and other than the hill all other parts of the festival were accessible to me and I was able to get around unassisted just fine.
Water/Bathrooms – ✭✭✭✩✩
More water stations were definitely needed, but in their defense we were under heat advisory and they did create a makeshift water station the second day. The bathrooms were okay, by the accessible stalls were pretty full by the end of both nights.
Trash – ✭✭✭✭✭
I did notice a crew going around and to pick up trash and I didn’t notice much trash.
Hotel/Parking – ✭✭✭✭✭
I don’t know about everyone else, but we were able to park close. I booked a nice hotel room not far from Sloss right from the festival’s official website and paid only $100 for two beds for one night. During another festival, I’ve paid $150 a night for a shitty room not as close to the festival.
Phone Charging – ✭✭✭✭✭
There was an attended station that you could check your phone into and they would charge it for free. Chargers were provided and you were given a number to prevent theft.
Vibe – ✭✭✭✭✭
It was in the South. It was hot as hell, but of course everyone was polite.
Overall Rating – ✭✭✭✭✩
Don’t get me wrong Sloss is Boss. Just move change the dates and we’re cool. Preferably to a weekend with a cooler weather forecast. A heat advisory in the South is no joke, son.