Secret Stages, Birmingham’s music discovery festival, begins its fifth year this weekend. The festival is located in the loft district downtown, and most of the seven stages are inside local bars and restaurants clustered together on both 2nd Avenue and Morris Street. The venues range from the rustic Rogue Tavern to Michael’s, a biker-friendly bar.
Secret Stages has carefully curated 60 diverse bands. Lovers of hip hop set to Nintendo beats can overhear psychedelic folk playing above them. The festival offers music lovers a chance to truly explore, and disdains the usual frenzied rush at festivals to dash from band to band on a tight schedule.
Most of the bands at Secret Stages are relative unknowns from places like Arkansas or New York. These bands, like Landlady from Brooklyn, NY, have conquered their local and regional scene and are ready for national exposure. Secret Stages also includes many emerging local bands, like The Burning Peppermints, a young rock band who has discovered an entirely new way to make a hell of a lot of noise in their parent’s garages.
Secret Stages is aptly named, with secret performers appearing throughout the festival. These range from local bands like The Steel City Jug Slammers picking their banjos on the sidewalk to an internationally renowned group, The Roots, playing at the VIP Lounge.
Day passes for Saturday are $20, and passes for single venues are $15. Passes will be available at the festival box office between Pale Eddie's and Rogue Tavern, on Second Avenue North near 23rd Street, and all venues. Lineup information and a venue map can be found at http://www.secretstages.net/.