On April 27th, 2011, the United States experienced its worst tornado outbreak in history, with a reported 208 twisters spotted in the course of just 24 hours. The two causing the most destruction touched down in Birmingham, Tuscaloosa and other nearby Alabama cities, leaving 64 people dead and more than $2 billion in property damage in the state. And though it was almost four years ago, the healing and rebuilding are still uphill battles for many.
This summer, Alan Jackson will lead a long lineup of country stars in helping Alabama’s continuing tornado recovery, when he headlines the fourth annual Rock the South music festival. Set for June 19th and 20th in Cullman, Alabama (a city 50 miles north of Birmingham that was also hit hard by a deadly tornado), the event also boasts performances by Travis Tritt, Eric Paslay, Corey Smith, Jon Pardi, Blackberry Smoke, Brantley Gilbert and Birmingham resident Sara Evans, among others. (See the full lineup here.)
“Every year this event serves as a reminder that together we can overcome and rebuild — and that we’re doing it together,” says Evans, whose husband, former Alabama football star Jay Barker, co-founded the festival. “Seeing everyone come together on an annual basis shows just how strong the people of this region are. Having the support of artists like Alan Jackson and Brantley Gilbert, and Pepsi as a title sponsor this year, are incredible additions to Rock the South and to our community.”
To date, Rock the South has raised more than $150,000 for local charities helping tornado victims. Dierks Bentley headlined the inaugural event, followed by the Band Perry and Hank Williams Jr. in 2013, and Little Big Town with Lynyrd Skynyrd last year. Get ticket information for this year’s Alan Jackson-led festivities at rockthesouth.com.