Rain makes for memorable first day of Fireside Music Festival

Organizers push through with plans for four-day festival despite weather

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. - Organizers of a four-day music festival that they hope becomes a Huntsville staple had many challenges going into its first day.

They were up against skeptics who questioned whether the brand new venue was ready for a festival as well as locals who did not know there was a new tenant at the Mid-City development amongst the giant piles of orange dirt. (Mid-City is taking the place of the Madison Square Mall, which was recently demolished.)

Then, they were up against the weather.

The organizers appeared to be on top of everything by 4 P.M. on Wednesday, before lightning and flash-flooding prevented the festival from opening on time.

Organizers say the rain alone did not threaten the Fireside Music Festival.

"If you can't learn how to dance in the rain, you're missing out on life," said organizer Odie Fakhouri, as he huddled under a canopy with members of his security team.

A bolt of lightning forced the postponement of the festival by a little more than two hours.

The intense rain had organizers and the sound crew scrambling to keep equipment dry, and to keep the 20 temporary tents standing through the rain and wind.

Within minutes of the initial downpour and sole crack of lightning, several festival goers as well as Mayor Tommy Battle made for the exit.

Fakhouri, soaked but smiling, gave credit to law enforcement and the crew from Southern Jam Security for bringing Day #1 of the festival back from life support.

"If you ever have an event, and something like this happens, you feel completely comfortable," Fakhouri said, "because you have professionals securing down the site."

The schedule for the Fireside Music Festival is as follows:

Wednesday ($10) Doors open at 4:00 pm: Russ Randolph and Friends (late start because of rain)

Thursday ($10) Doors open at 4:00 pm: The Dave Anderson Project and Rob Aldridge

Friday ($10) Doors open at 4:00 pm: Paul McDonald with special guests Bishop Gunn

Saturday ($25) Doors open at 8:00 am: Toy Shop, James LeBlanc and the Winchesters, firekid, Billy D Allen, and Grammy Award Winner Mike Farris

4-day pass: $45

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