COVID causes Handy Festival to be virtual this year

(Photo courtesy W.C. Handy Music Festival)

FLORENCE – W.C. Handy Music Festival officials said all Handy events will be virtual this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Alison Stanfield, director of operations at Florence-Lauderdale Tourism and publicity chairwoman for the Muscle Shoals Music Preservation Society, said the society made the decision Tuesday.
“Months ago we felt like everything would be OK again by the end of July,” Stanfield said during a news conference. “Things have changed, in the last month especially. More and more vendors and event coordinators decided that they didn’t feel like they could safely do it.”
She said there still are events that are not official Handy events this year, and the tourism website,, will have information on those.
She said virtual events will be on the website of the festival’s Facebook page.
The film, “St. Louis Blues,” will be on it, and there will be eight summer solos on the Facebook page at 10 a.m. daily, Stanfield said.
Scenes from the play “Determined” will be streamed at 6 p.m. Monday on the Facebook page, and will cut to a panel discussion of the scenes, she said.
“Virtual Jazz It Up With Trash!” will steam at 10 a.m. Tuesday, Stanfield said. The popular event features Microwave Dave show how to turn trash into musical instruments.