On April 5, the Tuscaloosa Tourism and Sports Commission hosts the fifth annual Druid City Arts Festival at Government Plaza in Tuscaloosa, Ala. DCAF is a spring staple of Tuscaloosa and TTSC hopes it will continue to draw thousands of locals and travelers to celebrate regional arts and music. The festival will feature nine bands and 65 artists showcasing and selling their artwork.

This will be the first year the commission hosts the festival alone, as last year they collaborated with Creative Campus, the student organization which began the festival.

TTSC is implementing several changes in the festival, which Director of Tourism Tina Jones hopes will continue to grow attendance.

“We’ll have amazing artists and music as always, but now we’ll have beer!” Jones said with a grin. This year, DCAF will have a beer garden serving a wide selection of local, regional and national beers. As always, DCAF will be free and open to all and will take place from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Food vendors will be onsite, and an area of the festival will be dedicated to children’s activities

Musician Andy Harris heard about the festival at a farmer’s market and is a member of the Old Paints, one of the nine bands performing.  Harris plays a plethora of instruments, including the guitar, banjo, harmonica, and kazoo, which combine to form what Harris describes as, “very fun, kind of weird music. Definitely a unique sound.”

Harris says local musicians relish the chance to get exposure to people who wouldn’t ordinarily hear their music at a large festival such as DCAF.

“It’s always fun to play in front of people. I can’t wait to see all the art there and listen to other bands; seeing all Alabama has to offer up,” Harris said.

Along with local bands, TTSC has also secured nationally recognized John and Jacob as the headliner. Born and raised in Birmingham, Ala., John and Jacob have a Billboard #1 song, were nominated for an MTV O-Music Award, and chosen by CMT Edge as their first unsigned, “Listen Up” artist.

Artist Anthony Tavis has been present for almost all of DCAF’s five years, as a 4th year DCAF artist.

“It’s one of my favorite shows. It’s fun, I know lots of people there and people come to buy, so everybody wins.”

Tavis describes his art as, “Southern folk art, very colorful with a lot of music themes. I make it out of reclaimed wood and cabinet doors and found objects. I make a lot of bluesy and jazz stuff, that’s what I’m inspired by.”

Though Tavis appreciates that DCAF helps him make a living as an artist, he says that DCAF has a much deeper meaning to him.

”DCAF is important because it brings people out into a public space. Especially in this day and age with so much technology, people are used to sitting alone with their computers. It’s a good opportunity to go out and interact and celebrate everything we have as a community.”

”Art reflects society, and a celebration of art is a celebration of us as a community.”

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