The Model City Music Festival returns to Zinn Park Friday for its third annual showcase, this year featuring funk legends Morris Day and the Time, as well as a variety of local acts including Low Mileage Soul, Edward Prothro and Black Cat Bone.
Larry May, owner of CD Cellar in Anniston and organizer of the event, hopes this will prove to be the best Model City Music Festival yet.
“It’s part of what some are calling ‘Anniston’s biggest weekend ever’ with the music festival on Friday, followed by the Noble Street Festival on Saturday and the Cheaha Challenge bike event on Sunday,” May said. “The whole weekend is going to be huge.”
Many might remember Morris Day and the Time from the film “Purple Rain,” which will celebrate its 30th anniversary this year; others from the group’s celebrated role in 2001’s “Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back.”
The band has developed a cult following since its debut in the early 1980s, thanks in part to support from recording artist Prince as well as its own unique brand of loose, jammy funk. The band’s most recent album “Condensate,” released in 2011, reached No. 10 on the Billboard R&B charts, despite a more than decade-long absence from the music scene.
“They’re really underrated and they have been for quite a few years now,” May said. “I think they’re a group that will appeal to music fans both young and old, whether you remember ‘Purple Rain’ or not. We’re very excited to have them this year. I hope everyone comes ready to dance.”
Presenting acts for music fans of all ages is a passion of May’s, who was key in bringing in Marshall Tucker Band, Midnight Star and comedian Jimmie Walker to the park for shows last year. And events like the Noble Street Festival and the Cheaha Challenge, he says, have been essential, both economically and culturally, to creating “a downtown on the way back.”
“We started in 2012 with the first Model City Music Festival because I wanted to bring something to town that my son would like.” May said. “He’s a big Michael Jackson fan, so we found this wonderful tribute band. I mean, these guys were really talented, and people must’ve taken notice. The next thing we knew, the park was full, everyone had a great time, and the city council gave us the go-ahead to do it again last year. It’s amazing to see that kind of enthusiasm from both the people and the city of Anniston.”
Jacqueline Smith, an Anniston resident and student at Jacksonville State University, was stunned when she heard Morris Day and the Time were coming to her hometown.
“I thought it couldn’t get any better than Midnight Star — I was wrong. This year is going to be awesome,” she said. “This is exactly the kind of thing Anniston needs.”
The Model City Music Festival starts at 7 p.m. and admission is free. To find out more about the event, visit The CD Cellar Anniston on Facebook.
Andrew Holderfield is a freelance writer in Jacksonville. Contact him at Andrew.Holderfield@gmail.com.
STICK AROUND DOWNTOWN
Model City Music Festival is just the beginning. With Noble Street Festival Saturday and the Cheaha Challenge Sunday, downtown Anniston is the place to be all weekend long. Not convinced? Check out the weekend line-up:
• 4-8 p.m. Riders in Sunday’s Cheaha Challenge can pick up their race packet at a dinner at Cheaha Brewing Company.
• 9 p.m. Rock out with Morris Day and the Time during the third annual Model Street Music Festival in Zinn Park.
• 7:30 a.m. The races begin early Saturday with the Anniston Orthopaedic YMCA 5K beginning and ending at the YMCA on W. 14th Street, Anniston.
• 10 a.m.-9:30 p.m. Only pedestrians and bicycles will grace the streets of downtown Anniston during Noble Street Festival, a free family event featuring the Sunny King Criterium bike race, food, live music, KidZone activities and more. Check out the schedule for the Hot Blast Music Cafe below, and for the complete race schedule, visit noblestreetfestival.com.
• 11 a.m. Maggie Beam
• Noon Lindsey Hinkle
• 1 p.m. Abby Parks
• 2 p.m. Matt Slowik
• 3 p.m. Sweet Southern Comfort
• 4 p.m. The Willow Flies
• 5 p.m. The Gypsy Begonias
• 6 p.m. The Brooke Daniels Band
• 11 a.m.-8 p.m. The Taste on Noble restaurant tour vendors will be lined up along Noble Street serving up the best in local cuisine. Participating eateries include Mad Hatters Cupcakes, Classic on Noble, Bonnie Ray’s Bake Shop, Chick-fil-A, Mata's Pizza, Mellow Mushroom, Cooter Brown's, Prime Dining and Bar, Cheaha Brewing Company, Red Pepper Grille, Artisanal Baked Goods and Jefferson's. You can pick up dining tickets, 13 for $15 or 4 for $5, at designated booths throughout the festival.
• 9:15 p.m. The day wraps up with the awards presentation for the Men and Women Pro bike races.
• 7:30 a.m. If you didn’t get all the cycling out of your system Saturday, head to Jacksonville for the Cheaha Challenge gran Fondo, part of the Alabama Backroads Century Series. For more info, visit cheahachallenge.com.
• 9 a.m.- 12:20 p.m. Or head to Piedmont and watch the pros race it out in the Foothills Classic Road Race, a USA Cycling sanctioned event. Visit foothillsroadrace.com for more info.