Four weekends, 18 venues, 82 showcases, 279 acts, over 25,000 music fans and $98,000 raised for a local charity — the third annual Sing Out Loud Music Festival proved to be the largest, most successful year yet.
With fans coming as far as Austin, Texas and even South Africa, this year’s festival welcomed over 25,000 people to St. Augustine over the course of four weekends between Sept. 1 and Sept. 23. Two hundred and seventy-nine acts — ranging from indie rock to punk rock, bluegrass to blues and spoken word to comedy — took the stage at 18 different venues in a celebration of local, regional and national singers, songwriters, musicians and performance artists.
New this year was the Sing Out Loud Panel Discussion held at The Corazon Cinema and Café on Sept. 20. The panel, entitled “Perspectives on the Florida Music Scene: The Current State, Its Future and How Florida Artists Can Break Past the State Line,” featured 10 Florida-based music industry leaders sharing their knowledge and advice on what makes the Florida music scene unique, how to further its growth and how to support local musicians. All 82 Sing Out Loud showcases were free and open to the public, with the exception of the Sept. 22 Betty Griffin Center Benefit Concert starring Jason Isbell and The 400 Unit with The Decemberists and Lucero at the St. Augustine Amphitheatre.
Through the sale of donation tickets to the Sept. 22 showcase, approximately $98,000 was raised for the Betty Griffin Center with ancillary funds being raised during the Sept. 23 Against Me! concert and additional donations that are still coming in. All proceeds raised were donated to the Betty Griffin Center to assist in its mission of working to end domestic violence and sexual abuse in St. Johns County.
"It has been quite amazing to see so many musicians and people in our community coming together to support such a wonderful organization as the Betty Griffin Center,” said Ryan Murphy, festival organizer and director of St. Johns County Cultural Events Division. “Artists such as Jason Isbell understood from the beginning that the impact they would have on the festival and the fundraising aspect would be quite phenomenal. The true spirit of the Sing Out Loud Festival is to lift up local musicians, venues and organizations in a way that we don't get to most of the year ... and in that way I feel it was a real success this year."
Betty Griffin Center CEO Joyce Mahr said her organization is extremely grateful for the support.
“This gift comes at a most opportune time as we try to meet shortfalls and fill in gaps as a result of an increase in more than double the numbers of services we are providing,” Mahr said. “It will ensure that we can meet the demands of critical and life-saving support.”
The Sing Out Loud Festival is presented by Community First Credit Union and produced by the St. Johns County Cultural Events Division (which owns and operates the St. Augustine Amphitheatre and Ponte Vedra Concert Hall), the St. Johns Tourist Development Council and the St. Johns Cultural Council. Since its inception in 2016, the St. Augustine music festival has welcomed an estimated 50,000 music fans and featured nearly 900 performing artists at multiple venues.