Some perspective: The Panoply Arts Festival was here before Fruit Roll-Ups existed. It’s been a constant in Huntsville since American cultural giants Bear Bryant, Karen Carpenter and Muddy Waters were still alive. Launched in 1982, Panoply is a weekend of visual art, dance, music and more that brings together the city’s families, young adults, teens, hipsters, hippies, seniors and people of all hues.
The “most Huntsville” of all Huntsville weekends returns April 28-30 to its familiar setting of Big Spring Park, downtown at 200 Church Street. The annual festival is organized and managed by local nonprofit Arts Huntsville and dozens of volunteers.
In recent years, Panoply’s music lineup, which has long given local acts a big stage, has narrowed its bookings from national and regional headliners to focus on Alabama artists, particularly North Alabama.
This year’s headliners include Huntsville/Shoals indie Wanda Band on Friday, Huntsville-based rockers Rob Aldridge & The Proponents on Saturday and Tuscaloosa country upstart Jackson Chase on Sunday.
The full Panoply 2023 music schedule can be found at artshuntsville.org.
Panoply 2023 artists previously highlighted in past AL.com articles include singer/songwriter Delaney Folds, R&B bedroom songwriter Chelsea, Who? and pop supernova Remy Neill. We did a song-by-song review with the golden voice of folk singer Ricky J Taylor. We talked about the alt country music of Silver Silos, the thin R&B of Pat Jamar and the beautiful songs of Preston Watts. Synth savants Snacks and routine duo Common Man made our recent list of best local live bands.
Before Panoply we raise five something else artists to see at this year’s festival. That’s not to say there aren’t additional artists worth showing up for. Get there early and stay late to experience Panoply 2023’s prismatic local music lineup.
Local rapper Leauxeyed’s 2022 EP “Spaghetti Western” drew us in with its opening track. “330 Monte Sano” cinematically combines a fast flow and a retro sounding song. Leauxeyed packs dense lyrical landscapes and mirage sounds into short Ramones joints like “No Funerals this Summer,” “Solar” and “Mondo.”
More than 14,000 people follow the Huntsville singer/songwriter Emma Klein on Twitter. Listening to her strong country/folk/pop songs, that number has the potential to multiply. A lot. Klein’s polished 2025 EP can be streamed on Spotify. The EP is loaded with relatable tunes like “Waffle House” and “When It Come to You.” Her more recent Soundcloud tracks like “like you used to” hint at a more ethereal and immediate direction.
Trivia: The late great Huntsville musician Stone Anderson once played drums for Them Damn Dogs at a concert at Mars Music Hall. An alternative rock band echoing the guitar melody of The Smithereens, TDD’s lead songs include “Memories” and “Focus,” both from the 2021 album Unpoetic Flavor. The band’s lineup includes singer/guitarist Jerome Villarreal, Jr., drummer Brandon Holmes, bassist Chris Salib and guitarist Russ Savage IV.
12:30 p.m. April 29
Athens pop singer Zami Mare sounds like a star and looks like a star. Her 2022 album Self Help boasted sparse, soulful baby bangers like “Can We Stop,” “Real Love” and “2 In 1.”
Young acoustic guitarist Josh Taylor lets his fingers do the talking. His 2022 instrumental EP ‘The Four Walls’ evokes the graceful forms of ’70s cult folk hero Nick Drake and ’80s legend Michael Hedges. In particular the curls of ‘Pocket Change’, ‘Turnip Greens (on Tuesday night) and ‘Cherry Blossom Frogs’. With people like Taylor, the future of music in Huntsville looks bright.
Advance tickets for Panoply 2023 are $18 on the weekend and $10 in advance for a day, via artshuntsville.org. Children up to 12 years old are admitted to the festival for free. Read more about Panoply 2023 highlights here.
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