Featuring Gringo Grande, Modern Skirts, Back City Woods, Moon Taxi, Dirty Sound Professors, Drivin’ N Cryin’, Drive-By Truckers
By Leila Regan-Porter
The Hummingbird Stage and Taproom has been a pretty good solid outlet for live music in Macon, increasingly so in the past couple of years, bringing in enough rockin’ touring acts and alt-country locals to keep the usually-smoky room comfortably full with the city’s growing young population. The venue’s ongoing plans of music domination include an all-day music outdoor music festival, called The Big Bird Bash.
The venue is the gorgeous historic Luther Williams Field, which has been a favorite for filming, with 42 and Trouble with the Curve being the two most recent shoots. And thankfully, the festival will be taking place before the serious Macon heat sets in, so that midday heat will be all kinds of pleasant instead of unbearable.
There will be some local favorites supporting, like the rootsy southern rock of Gringo Grande, the cow-punk of Back City Woods, and the jammy vibes of Dirty Sound Professors. Headliners like Athens power-pop-turned-kooky-sound-explorers Modern Skirts, Nashville’s progressive indie pop outfit Moon Taxi, southern rock stalwarts Drivin’ N Cryin’ and today’s alt-country leaders Drive-By Truckers will be big draws, rounding up the event sometime after midnight, giving audiences over 12 hours of music.
Macon might seem like a pretty far way to go for non-Middle Georgia residents, but the city is fast becoming one of the Southeast’s most lovely undiscovered gems. First off, it’s a knockout of a city on an aesthetic level, thanks to the bypassing of Sherman’s March and a stagnating economy for several decades, leaving Macon with more historic buildings than either Savannah or Charleston. Downtown has been preserved in all its 1960s heyday glory, and is slowly but surely being turned into a destination hotspot, with a slew of restaurants and bars opening right and left. The Rookery is a huge favorite for locavores, and their myriad of burger combinations celebrating local history (including the Allman Burger, Johnny Jenkins Burger and Walden Greenback Burger, all Macon residents) features local grass-fed beef. Upstairs is their more fancy-pants sister restaurant, Dovetail, open in the evening and a great option for a seriously thoughtfully-made cocktail.
For something a bit more greasy and southern, H & H Restaurant is a hugely satisfying soul food option, well known to locals for providing The Allman Brothers with a free meal every now again to keep those skinny boys from starving, as owner and cook Mama Louise recalls. Or, if you need a more health-conscious option, recently opened make-your-own-stir-fry restaurant Ginger gives you that choice. Upstairs at night, Kashmir serves up lush prohibition-style cocktails in a gorgeous lounge atmosphere.
Music history runs through Macon’s veins, so it’s well-worth taking yourself on a tour of spots like The Tic Toc Room, where Little Richard used to play, or The Douglass Theatre, where Otis Redding won the weekly “Teenage Party” broadcast and competition so many times he was told to stop returning, or Grant’s Lounge, where both The Marshall Tucker Band and Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers auditioned for Phil Walden’s Capricorn Records (they took the former, passed on the latter). And a stroll through Riverside and Rose Hill Cemeteries will turn up many an Allman Brothers song inspiration or album cover shot. For a guided tour, check out Rock Candy Tours (www. rockcandytours.com).
Best of all, everything in Macon’s downtown is laid out on a grid with huge sidewalks, so you’ll be within walking, or perhaps stumbling, distance of wherever you lay your hat that night. And don’t forget – taxis are just as plentiful and cheap as Macon’s alcohol supply, if that stumble feels a little further at the end of the night.
Tickets are $25 and all ages are welcome, learn more about the Big Bird Bash here.