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Sing Out Loud Festival 2023 could be one of the biggest music festivals the city has ever hosted. The city is making big improvements.
ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. — St. Augustine is about to host one of its biggest music festivals – ever.
The Sing Out Loud Festival has grown over the last few years. This weekend, nearly 30 thousand people will pack into Francis Field for a two day music palooza.
Francis Field in downtown St. Augustine has had a lot of concerts over the years.
However, it’s never been transformed into what it’s becoming for this weekend.
Just created this week on the field, the biggest stage the city has ever had, two-story viewing areas that line the sides of the field, and concession stands galore. This is what the homespun Sing Out Loud Music Festival has evolved into in eight years.
Ten years ago, this same field hosted Mumford and Sons when the band performed for a different and international music festival called the Gentlemen of the Road tour. 25,000 people descended on the field on one day then. This year, close to 30,000 people will be here for Sing Out Loud over a two-day stretch. That’s big doings for a city with a population of 15,000.
“When Mumford came ten years ago,” Dylan Rumrell said, “that was the first time of something of that magnitude in St. Augustine.” Rumrell is the Chairman of the St. Johns County Cultural Events Inc., and he is one of the organizers of Sing Out Loud.
Some important things have changed in the last ten years, Gabe Pellicer said. He is the General manger of the St. Johns County Cultural Events Division as well as an organizer of Sing Out Loud.
“We’ve developed better transit systems,” Pellicer noted. “Uber is now a thing. It wasn’t a thing before. We’ve had all these additional hotels open up. Air B and B is a thing now. The town can absorb it.”
And, it is September which is the slowest tourist time of the year. That’s why the Sing Out Loud Festival was created in 2016, but it’s just never been this big before. People do remember the uncertainty of ten years ago, the last time Mumford and Sons played here.
“I think the businesses have embraced it more. They now know what to expect,” Rumrell said. “Because then (in 2013), no one knew. They wondered, ‘Do we order all this food? Do we need to do this?'”
Granted, ten years ago, the crowds were so controlled that people didn’t infiltrate into downtown and spend money at local businesses. Organizers have planned and hope it will be different this time around.
“We want to do our best to deliver the economic impact,” Pellicer said.
It’s the whole reason Sing Out Loud was started, and that was to set a stage… even if it’s a huge one… for music and money to spill out into the streets and businesses of St. Augustine.