On October 25, 2008, an
all-day event will be held at The Lumberyard, 120 Cleveland Ave. The
slogan, "Music, Food, Fun, and Politics" sums up the event. Huntsville's
most popular musicians will be performing throughout the day and night as
a promotion for voter registration and participation in the upcoming
election. In between sets, Madison County Democrat and Republican Party
candidates and elected city officials will be addressing what promises to
be a sold-out event. Local vendors will have food available in the food
court, and beer and wine will be on sale all day in the wood sheds.
Rock The Vote
Huntsville's number one goal is to elevate political awareness and
encourage active participation in the voting process. Event promotions
throughout the city provide reminders and links to increase voter
registration. The Alabama deadline to register to vote is October 24th
and on Saturday, Oct. 25th, both political parties will be
celebrating the culmination of their own voter registration drives.
Sixteen acts will perform
back to back, and at the end of the night, musicians from different bands
and genres will unite for a finale jam. Throughout the day activities
include a voting booth, ring toss, darts and the inauguration of AM
Booth’s “Catch the Train” game. Running tallies will be announced
Doug Smith, owner of The
Lumberyard and Huntsville’s most prestigious recording engineer, organized
the event. Smith opened Sound Cell Recording on the corner of Meridian
and Cleveland Ave. in 1981 and purchased the acre of land around Sound
Cell in 2006 with his wife, Joy, and transformed it into Park Place Plaza.
Park Place Plaza, across
from Bud Cramer Park is now home to Smith Music Group Inc, Office
Interiors by OSCO Inc., Bicycles Etc., Allison Jansen Photography and the
newest addition, To Die For - Interiors and gifts. Behind the plaza is an
expansive courtyard surrounded by a kiln, a railroad switch shack with
side tracks, and lumber sheds dating back to the late 1800’s. Upon
entering The Lumberyard, one might mistake it for the set of a movie. The
historically rustic atmosphere is decorated with exotic plants and
flowers. The old sheds are now a lighted multi-colored backdrop to the
unique decorations aesthetically strewn around the courtyard. An early
version of a gas pump, a claw-foot bathtub from the old Russell-Erskine
hotel, a wrought-iron cheese cutter, a five foot hand saw, a fire-hose, a
bed frame?, an American flyer bicycle, and a safe painted with A.M Booth’s
name that hasn‘t been opened since the 19th century can all be
found here at The Lumberyard.
In the 19th and early
20th centuries, the courtyard was a fully functional lumberyard supplying
lumber to what is now Old Town Huntsville. The Lumberyard was owned by
A.M. Booth whose original sign “since 1895” still decorates the tin of one
of the half dozen sheds parallel to the train tracks. A.M. Booth supplied
lumber to several prestigious homes in Old Town and buildings around
Huntsville for over fifty years.
When asked where
the idea for the event came about, Smith explained, "
I had just finished a session (at Sound Cell) the day after the recent
Mayoral election and was talking politics on a break out in The
Lumberyard. I realized that less than 30,000 people voted in a
municipality of over 170,000 people, and someone suggested doing the show.
It's just grown from there."
People got on the phone and began sending out
emails with a surprisingly positive reaction. "Everybody just jumped on
board without hesitation. The first response I got from musicians, sound
guys, light guys, the street team, general staff, etc. was, ". Count me
in.' We eventually had to start turning people down, there were so
many people wanting to be a part of this thing."
The idea would not have
come into fruition without the support and cooperation of the Meridian
business community and city administrators. Among the businesses
surrounding The Lumberyard, To Die For, a new interior and gift shop, is
now sponsoring the event. Four buildings over, the unique upscale clothing
boutique, Envy, is celebrating their third year on Meridian. When Envy
owner Ginger MacNealy heard about the event she didn’t hesitate to offer
her support and join in on the flag waving.
At 6:00PM on the 25th,
as soon as the sun hits the horizon, TLS, Huntsville's Theatrical
Lighting, will light up the lumberyard as it hasn’t been seen for the last
century. Affordable Sound Recording and Booking from Decatur will be
shaking the rafters with their impressive sound system. If you can still manage to get tickets, you’ll have a hard time
believing you’re in downtown Huntsville. Local rock radio, 95.1FM will be
on hand with radio personalities helping to MC the show and providing
all-day live coverage of the event, and Best Buy employees are
contributing a screen projection for the stage and political ads.
The Lumberyard is no
stranger to community awareness and charity events. Earlier this year,
Bicycles Etc. brought the Tour De Cure to The Lumberyard and helped raise
over $60,000 for Diabetes research.
Firing up the grill in preparation for "Tour de Cure"
Professionals kicked in to help construct the stage for last year’s
Halloween party at The Lumberyard. Every band donated a track to a
compilation CD given away with advance ticket purchases just to make sure
the event is a sell-out.
Show up at noon and stay
all day, or show up for your favorite band and stay until the wee hours.
Bring the family. Bring lawn chairs, strollers, and pets, and come hungry
and thirsty. There are covered areas all throughout The Lumberyard, so the
event goes on rain or shine.
Park Place Plaza fronts
Meridian Street a block south of Pratt and stretches back to the tracks
across from Huntsville's Skate and Dog parks. The Lumberyard’s entrance
is located at 120 Cleveland Ave., next to the mural proclaiming, “A.M.