The inaugural Francis Field Event featured The Black Keys, Mumford & Sons, Maggie Rogers, Lord Huron, and more on September 22 & 23
St. Augustine, FL — The Sing Out Loud Festival’s Francis Field Showcase on Sept. 22-23, 2023 established a new benchmark for cultural and community events in the Nation’s Oldest City. Despite being held on a weekend historically marked by low tourist activity, the two-day event attracted an astounding 32,000 attendees from across the United States, marking it as a monumental success.
The impressive turnout drew attendees from South Florida, North and South Carolina, Virginia, New Jersey, and numerous other regions, underscoring the festival’s vast reach and significant impact. Notably, this showcase is a highlight of the month-long Sing Out Loud Festival, which is strategically scheduled in September. Historically, September is a low-tourism month for St. Johns County, often seeing less than 60% lodging occupancy in comparison to peak months. By hosting the festival during this time, there’s a deliberate effort to stimulate the local economy and foster community engagement.
“Watching downtown come alive during the festival is a powerful testament to our shared vision. It offers our community a unique chance to bond, while also providing a substantial boost to our local businesses during a typically slow period,” said Dylan Rumrell, Chairman of SJC Cultural Events, Inc.
“Not to mention, having such esteemed artists take the stage not only elevates St. Augustine’s cultural landscape but also cements its reputation as a premier destination for top-tier musical talent. The blend of community spirit, economic boost, and stellar performances is truly remarkable.”
In addition to boosting local tourism and cultural visibility, the Francis Field Showcase made a significant philanthropic impact. Thanks to a charity fee included in each ticket, an impressive total of $140,000 was raised. This amount is to be divided evenly between the First Responder Project and the St. Johns County School District.
The two-day event boasted an impressive lineup of renowned artists, including The Black Keys, Mumford & Sons, Maggie Rogers, Lord Huron, Elle King, Amos Lee, S.G. Goodman, and War Hippies.
In addition to the philanthropic achievements at Francis Field, a portion of the proceeds will benefit the Florida State Parks Foundation via Intuition Ale Works’ Sing Out Loud “Sessions IPA” Brew.
On Saturday, September 23, the same evening that artists like Mumford & Sons and Maggie Rogers performed at Francis Field in downtown St. Augustine, Sing Out Loud also celebrated a sold-out show featuring Yonder Mountain String Band, Railroad Earth, and Keller & the Keels at The Backyard Stage at The St. Augustine Amphitheatre. The entirety of the proceeds from this sold-out performance, totaling $21,030, will be donated to the Gamble Rogers Folk Festival, Inc.
“I’m overwhelmed by the unwavering support and enthusiasm that our community and local partners have poured into this year’s festival. This event stands as a testament to what we can achieve when we come together with a shared vision,” said Gabriel Pellicer, CEO/President of SJC Cultural Events, Inc. “I’m eager to receive feedback from our local businesses on their experiences, insights, and ideas. Their input will be instrumental in pushing our mission forward.”
Throughout this September, Sing Out Loud Festival showcased an impressive 154 performances by both local and regional acts, spanning across 14 distinct venues throughout St. Augustine. Beyond these musical performances, the festival provided a rich tapestry of free community event programming to further engage attendees and locals. Highlights included the Lincolnville Porch Fest, where the historic neighborhood transformed into a live music venue across multiple residential porches, and The St. Augustine Record Fair at The St. Augustine Amphitheatre, a haven for vinyl enthusiasts and music lovers alike.
As we approach the conclusion of Sing Out Loud Festival 2023, the community has much to look forward to. The Music Business Panel, set for Wednesday, September 27th at Odd Birds, serves as a platform to delve into the intricacies of the music industry, underlining the festival’s dedication to artist development.
Moreover, the St. Augustine Songwriters Festival, taking place from Friday, Sept. 29 to Sunday, Oct. 1 at multiple venues in downtown St. Augustine, is set to offer a memorable finale to the month’s events. Emphasizing the art and craft of songwriting, this festival captures the true spirit of musical storytelling.
Sing Out Loud Festival is curated and produced by SJC Cultural Events, Inc. (SJCCE), formerly known as the St. Johns County Cultural Events Division, which oversees the operation and management of award-winning live entertainment venues, such as The St. Augustine Amphitheatre and Ponte Vedra Concert Hall, and the nationally recognized Fort Mose Jazz & Blues Series.
The event would not have achieved its phenomenal success without the unwavering support of our community partners, such as St. Johns County Tourist Development Council, City of St. Augustine, St. Johns County, St. Augustine Distillery, Sunbelt Rentals, Bozard Ford, Champion Brands, Intuition Ale Works, St. Augustine, Ponte Vedra & The Beaches Visitors & Convention Bureau, St. Augustine Songwriters Festival, Flying Saucer Presents, AVL Productions, Jalaram Hotels, and Embassy Suites by Hilton St. Augustine Beach.
“This unparalleled success not only underscores the cultural significance of the Sing Out Loud Festival but also serves as a testament to the unity, commitment, and vision of the St. Johns County community,” added Kevin Sweeny, SJC Cultural Events, Inc. Board Member, “As plans for future editions of the festival are underway, this year’s triumph sets a promising precedent for forthcoming events, collaborations, and partnerships.”
Deep appreciation is extended to the community partners and the dedicated services and officials of St. Johns County and the City of St. Augustine. Their unwavering support was instrumental in accommodating the record-breaking influx of visitors this year.