July 12, 2016
Brittani Howell and Kenneth Lee
In recent years, Summer Jam has been the anchoring musical event during the lull between semesters. In May 2015, Airbound Entertainment added Summer Sessions to the seasonal lineup. Now the music management and event booking agency is adding what might be their biggest event yet: The Eagle Creek Music Fest, an all-day, all-ages outdoor event at Eagle Creek Brewing Company, to be held July 23 from 2–10 p.m.
“It’s had better engagement (on social media) than any event we’ve held in probably the last year,” said Willliam Bridwell, the founder and manager of Airbound Entertainment. As of July 7, he said, “about 800 people are engaged or interested in going.”
Bridwell has been planning an event of this nature for about six to eight months, and joined forces with Eagle Creek and several local sponsors to make the music festival happen. Unlike Summer Jam, Summer Sessions, Boropalooza and other standalone music events, Bridwell wanted to make Eagle Creek Music Fest an outdoor event to appeal to a wider variety of music lovers — that is, audience members who typically avoid the more student-focused bars.
The city of Statesboro approved the festival’s outdoor event permit 32 days before the date organizers had set for the event. Bridwell had to hustle to fill up the time slots for the all-day music festival and finalized the lineup early in July, but despite the time crunch he was able to book 11 — that’s right, 11 — bands and artists for the event.
Airbound Entertainment has only been operating since the spring of 2014, but it has quickly carved itself an important niche in the Boro’s music scene. Starting with a spring concert series beginning in March of last year, Bridwell has been working up gradually to bigger events, booking concerts with large country acts such as David Nail, Corey Smith and Jon Langston to fill what he sees as a significant gap in Statesboro’s entertainment market.
“(Eagle Creek Music Fest) is exactly like what we’ve been working toward,” Bridwell said. “When we did David Nail and Corey Smith and Jon Langston, it was to re-engage with a market of people that had not really had those types of shows come through town over the couple of years before that. These are the style of events that I think could thrive in Statesboro.”
The festival will begin at 2 p.m. on Saturday, July 23, starting with a performance by the Tall Paul Band on the outdoor stage. Brewery tours with beer tastings will be sold at Eagle Creek Brewing Company and can be carried outside within the bounds of the perimeter that will be set in the brewery's parking lot. In keeping with tradition of past anniversaries, the brewery is whipping up a special anniversary brew: a Belgian Tripel, brewed with all-Belgian malted barley and wheat.
General admission tickets, tour and tasting packages, and a VIP package are all available to purchase in advance and on the day of the show, but there are only 500 tickets available for the event. To purchase yours before the show, visit the Eagle Creek Music Fest Facebook page for a link to the Xorbia ticketing site. General admission is $12 in advance and $17 at the door. For further price breakdowns, see the Eagle Creek Music Fest Facebook page under the "About" section.
Bridwell said Eagle Creek Music Fest would not be possible without local sponsors, which include Pladd Dot, BrickHouse Live Productions, DSDA Statesboro and new business Smith & Wasden Clothing Co. — and, of course, the brewery lending its name to the festival. The event also stands as a celebration of Eagle Creek Brewing Co.’s third anniversary.
“When you hear the phrase ‘support local,’ Eagle Creek does it just as well as anybody, if not better than everybody,” Bridwell said.
Music festivals in Statesboro have come and gone — including A.U.R.A. Fest, Dixie Jam and the Statesboro Music Festival, for example — but Bridwell hopes that the Eagle Creek Music Fest is the first installment of a longstanding tradition in the making.
*Editor's note: Edits to this piece have been made at the request of Airbound Entertainment and Eagle Creek Brewing Company, including the specification that beer from Eagle Creek is only available through tour and tasting packages. Please excuse discrepancies with the print version.