DOTHAN, Ala. – The Circle City will welcome concert-goers from all 50 states in two weeks for the third annual Toadlick Music Festival at the National Peanut Festival fairgrounds.
Ticket sales for the April 24-26 event are up, said festival founder Chris Gilbert, as Toadlick has grown in popularity, name recognition and local support.
“Our first year, we had to convince people to come – entertainers and fans,” Gilbert said. “People know who we are now and some things have gotten easier. Last year, music fans from 40 states came to the festival. This year we reached all the way to Alaska and Hawaii in addition to several foreign countries.”
Some of that growing popularity comes from a strong line-up that includes top names like The Band Perry, Mobile natives named Vocal Group of the Year Sunday by the Academy of Country Music, and country legend Merle Haggard who received a tribute award from the ACM Sunday on his 77th birthday. This is Haggard’s 50th year as a performer.
Also playing are Gary Allan, Billy Currington, REO Speedwagon, Molly Hatchet, Clay Walker, Joe Nichols, Colt Ford, The Lacs, Aaron Lewis, Jana Kramer, Gloriana, Brett Eldredge, Chase Rice, Blackjack Billy, Tobacco Road Band, Anthony Orio, Donica Knight, Steffan Hughes, Rowdy Johnson Band and Mama Try’d.
Dothan Mayor Mike Schmitz said the city’s doors are open. “We are very proud to have visitors from all over the U.S. It's great for our economy and allows us to show our Southern hospitality. Plus they get to hear great music at Toadlick,” Schmitz said.
Houston County Commission Chairman Mark Culver said the festival is good for a number of reasons.
“We are glad to see the quality of entertainment right here in Houston County and we certainly welcome all these visitors to our area,” Culver said. “We appreciate Chris for this gift of entertainment he has brought to his hometown.”
Last year’s festival helped Houston County have one of the highest sales tax collection months on record and accounted for the highest hotel occupancy rate in the city.
“Toadlick is very good for Dothan and Houston County, helping increase our sales tax collections, filling our hotels, and showing off what we have. You never know what might come from someone attending an event here. CEOs and others looking for opportunities to expand and grow their businesses are music fans too. You never know who is in the crowd.”
Dothan Area Chamber of Commerce President Matt Parker agreed, saying Toadlick is just one of a number of special events that brings people to Dothan.
“This event compliments the many activities underway, helping us gain exposure for our area,” Parker said. “The US-Chinese Symposium provided international exposure and the upcoming Women's Pro Classic adds to the international flavor. We’ve got the Tri-State BBQ Festival this weekend. Toadlick completes the April schedule as we promote our area both domestically and internationally.
“The more traffic we gain with these type events greatly enhances our economic development efforts. We have always said, if we can get people to experience our community and business climate by visiting our area, they are sold! I think that is true.”
Toadlick is one of the largest BYOB festivals in the South. Beverages and food can be brought inside the festival in a collapsible cooler. Tickets can be purchased at www.toadlick.com. Three-day general admission tickets are $109 plus tax. Tickets increase to $129 on April 15. Children 12 and under get in free.
Campsites are still available. Primitive sites are $110 for three days. There are very few full hook-ups and partial hook-ups left. Call 334-790-0337 to book a spot. Bathrooms with showers have been added to the south campground.
Sponsors for this year’s event include Buffalo Rock Pepsi, Interstate Batteries, Mazda of Dothan, Dothan Chrysler Dodge, Jeep, Ram, Wiregrass Construction, the Dothan Eagle, B105.3, Durden Outdoor Displays, Dothan Area Convention & Visitors Bureau, the Alabama Tourism Department, Don Walker’s Western Wear, Inland, Jack Link’s Beef Jerky, Alabama National Guard, ABC Supply, Trinity Metal Buildings, Cosmic Concepts and Brewco.
Visit their Facebook page toadlickmusic.