What do you do when you plan an event and it goes off without a hitch? If you’re the Cask & Drum management team, you try to make it even better. The one-day festival placing equal emphasis on music, food and drink took flight in 2013, and plans are already set for this year’s event.
“In retrospect, not much has changed in terms of our perceptive of the event,” management team member Todd Coder says when asked to reflect on Cask & Drum’s first year. “I was personally very pleased with the way it was implemented and the response we got from the attendees, artists, staff and volunteers. It was everything we envisioned it would be, and that doesn’t happen often when you’re doing these things. We’ve listened to our fan base and taken their suggestions to heart. We’ve embraced a few things that we might not have embraced last year.”
“The lesson I learned was start sooner,” Jeff Gale, a C&D management team member, says with a laugh. “We were really under the gun last year, with two months to go from the onsale date to the event date. This year, we’ve got a little more time, but we’re still under the gun. We held out to get the lineup we wanted, and I think it just came out super strong. We’ve got a brand now and a bunch of people who experienced the event last year had a great time, and we’re excited to come back.”
The second annual Cask & Drum will take place on Saturday, Oct. 11. This year’s lineup includes Drive-By Truckers, Girl Talk, Lucero, Houndmouth, Wild Club, Lee Bains III and the Glory Fires, Drew Holcomb and the Neighbors, The Apache Relay, Jamestown Revival, Paul McDonald and Kansas City Bible Company. This year’s event, taking place in the same Lakeview green space, will be expanded and is now home to another well-known Birmingham event.
“We have logistically planned a number of different changes for the site,” Coder offers. “So there is a substantial site expansion this year and a lot of different elements we didn’t have in 2013. One of these main elements, which is going to kick off the event, is the Kick’n Chick’n Wing Festival, which is the Magic Moments annual event that usually takes place on this weekend as well. We’ve combined those two events and we are hosting the Wing Fest at Cask & Drum.”
Gale adds, “As part of that partnership, Cask & Drum benefits Magic Moments, a wonderful local charity.”
The creation of Cask & Drum coincides with a renewed vitality in Birmingham’s city center. Given hotspots including Regions Field, Lakeview, Avondale and the entertainment district, Cask & Drum gives local residents one more reason to come into Birmingham proper.
“That’s very intentional, and the reason we thought this event had exceptional possibilities was the wave of momentum that the city of Birmingham has been riding for the last couple of years,” Coder says. “It’s a very exciting time to live here and a very exciting time to produce events like this and to be a small piece of what makes Birmingham so great.”
Along with a diverse musical lineup, expanded area and increased attractions, Cask & Drum has lowered its general admission prices to provide even greater value to its attendees.
“Last year, general admission prices got up to $55 on the day of the event,” Coder recalls. “We are very sensitive to the price points in terms of general admission tickets. We want to make this an event that has extreme value. Not only do you get an entire day’s worth of music, you get admission into the Kick’n Chick’n Wing Festival and other options that we will be announcing soon.”
While many of the Cask & Drum performers are well-known on a national scale, the event exists primarily to promote local companies and entities that enhance the city.
“I’m not sure we advertise it prominently, but everything about this event – except for many of the artists – is local,” Coder says. “It’s real important to us to not bring people in from the outside and for it to be Birmingham-conceived and Birmingham-produced, because we have so much talent here and we want to utilize that talent. That’s really what got us started with this thing in the very beginning: to do an event specifically in Lakeview that would benefit Birmingham as a whole.”
Cask & Drum will return to Lakeview on Oct. 11. For more information, visit the festival website.