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What to see and hear at September’s Sing Out Loud Festival in St. Augustine

Sing Out Loud 2021
Credit: graphic by Bonnie Zerr

Remember livestream festivals? Right. Not the same. 

The return of live music got going in earnest early this summer, when Lollapalooza welcomed 300K-plus (vaccinated) fans to Chicago. Popular online music publication Pitchfork brings its indie-heavy fest back to Chicago during the second week in September. 

Here in Northeast Florida, music fans have been chomping at the bit, reveling in the steady stream of lineup announcements for this year’s multi-venue Sing Out Loud Festival in and around St. Augustine. After a pandemic-initiated one-year hiatus, SOL returns with an eclectic and exciting collection of headliners, including noisy NYC rockers Parquet Courts, trance-fusion pioneers the Disco Biscuits and a night of ’90s nostalgia compliments of TLC and Bone Thugs-N-Harmony. And that’s just the headliners.

While the main-stage events at The Amp get all the buzz, it’s the pop-up-style showcases in and around St. Augustine’s historic district that make Sing Out Loud… well… sing. For music fans on a tight budget, there are dozens of free shows that will, without question, be worth the price of admission. 

In all, more than 100 artists will perform over the course of four weeks in September. Our team here at JME is certainly counting the days until SOL. While we wait, we dug into month-long events calendar. Here’s what JME Contributors recommend seeing and hearing in St. Johns County in September. 

NOTE: The Sing Out Loud Festival includes both indoor and outdoor performances. The CDC recommends wearing a mask indoors in public if you are in an area of substantial or high transmission even if you are fully vaccinated, to maximize protection from the Delta variant and prevent possibly spreading it to others. In areas with high numbers of COVID-19 cases, consider wearing a mask in crowded outdoor settings and for activities with close contact with others who are not fully vaccinated.

Kevin Morby – Friday, September 10

St. Augustine Amphitheatre Backyard Stage | 1340C A1A S

Kevin Morby SOL
Image courtesy of Sing Out Loud Festival

Kevin Morby was a grizzled veteran of the indie music scene, even before his second solo record, 2014’s critically acclaimed Singing Saw. As the bassist for regionally popular New York folk band Woods and co-founder of indie rock group The Babies, Morby had also previously released an album of earnest singer-songwriter tunes to some fanfare. But Singing Saw, which included the jangly rocker “Dorothy” and the pensive, socially conscious ballad “Cut Me Down”, was a breakout for the artist. Subsequent collaborations with Katie Crutchfield of Waxahatchee, and a steady flow of follow up albums, have earned Morby full indie-rock-darling status. His latest, Sundowner, was released in October of 2020. Morby plays the St. Augustine Amphitheatre’s backyard stage on Friday, Sept. 10. Doors are at 7 p.m. But given that it’s free, arriving early is the smart move.–Matthew Shaw

This is a Free Event

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Ancient City Poets Showcase & Poetry Open Mic – Saturday, September 11

Art Studio of St. Augustine Beach | 370A A1A

The poetry scene in Northeast Florida dates back to the early post-war era, if not long before. Many mics have been rocked over the years, all over the region, and the scene has never failed to produce fresh, essential young voices. This event boasts the talents of Ben Atkinson, Cassandra DeGraff, Colleen Michele Jones,  Michael Henry Lee, Kimmy Van Kooten, Jamie Lynn Stanish, Robert Waldner and Lee Weaver, all of whom you will be hearing more from in the years to come.–Shelton Hull

This is a Free Event

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Surfer Blood – Saturday, September 11

Jenna Alexander X Sunday Backyard | 73 San Marco Ave 

Surferblood
Credit: Image courtesy of Sing Out Loud

South Florida quartet Surfer Blood performs many of the anthemic indie jingles that made them one of the most buzzed-about bands of the 2010’s. Surfer Blood arrives in the shared backyard of two hip historic-district-adjacent businesses, Jenna Alexander Studios and Sunday, fresh from a summer tour of its fifth record, Carefree Theatre. Jax-based indie rock outfit Teal Peel kicks things off at 7 p.m. Doors at 6:30 p.m.–Matthew Shaw

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Parquet Courts – Saturday, September 18

St. Augustine Amphitheatre | 1340C A1A S

Parquet Courts
Credit: Image courtesy of Sing Out Loud

Gearing up for their seventh studio album, Parquet Courts may be the best band you’ve never heard of. While their resume is stacked with accolades, their prolificness hasn’t kept up with the insane modern day expectations on content creators. Seven albums in eleven years is certainly nothing to scoff at, and this writer tips their hat to a band that allows itself to ebb and flow from the spotlight. It’s a refreshing concept, especially when the music always delivers. Parquet Courts have kept up a cooler-than-thou mystique, evoking an inoffensive pretension that compliments their educated-punk ethos. Fancy words for fancy people.–Glenn Michael Van Dyke 

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Cedric Burnside – Sunday, September 19

Colonial Oak Music Park | 12 St. George St 

Cedric Burnside
Credit: Image courtesy of Sing Out Loud

Memphis-born contemporary blues artist Cedric Burnside keeps one foot firmly planted in the present day while still stepping firmly into his North Mississippi heritage. The Grammy-nominated Burnside is a descendent of the same Hill Country region that gave us his grandfather, famed blues artist  R.L. Burnside, as well as Jessie May Hemphill, Junior Kimbrough, the fife-and-drum music of Otha Turner, and T-Model Ford and Paul “Wine” Jones. The 39-year-old Burnside’s recent release, I Be Trying, is a savvy culmination of his 30-year career that includes members of the Alabama Shakes and the North Mississippi Allstars, and is a testament to Burnside’s undeniable skills at pushing the blues deep into the future.-Daniel A. Brown 

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Music Business Panel and Singer-Songwriter Panel  – Thursday, September 23

Ponte Vedra Concert Hall | 1050 A1A N 

These are exceptionally challenging times to be a working musician in Northeast Florida, or anywhere else, for that matter. Two panels on September 23 are designed to help facilitate networking among industry professionals and stimulate best-practices among creators. The panelists include veteran A&R folks Steve Markland, Luke Pierce and Rodney Hall, while the well-schooled song-crafters Andy Albert, Mark Irwin, and Justin Wilson bring their unique insights on hit-making to the panel discussion. Music biz panel starts at 5 p.m. Singer-songwriter panel at 7 p.m.–Shelton Hull

This is a Free Event

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Friends of Friends Recording Showcase – Friday, September 24

Dog Rose Brewing Co. | 77 Bridge St  

Sailor Goon
Sailor Goon (pictured) is one of four Jax-based acts performing at the showcase hosted by Jax-based Friends of Friends Recording studio. | Credit: Image courtesy of Sing Out Loud

Jax-based recording studio Friends of Friends Recording put together this eclectic lineup of Jax-based artists. Featuring jazz-influenced bedroom pop vocalist Sailor Goon, singer and L.O.V.E. Culture frontperson Ché, indie-pop artist Huan, and singer-songwriter Erica Reese, if this showcase were a playlist, it’d have a strong following on Spotify. Showcase kicks off at 7 p.m. with Sailor Goon.–Matthew Shaw 

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TLC with Bone Thugs-N-Harmony – Saturday, September 25

St. Augustine Amphitheatre | 1340C A1A S 

TLC
Credit: Image courtesy of Sing Out Loud

When the topic at hand is ‘90s R&B, we can’t let the conversation continue without mentioning the queens of CrazySexyCool: TLC. Original members T-Boz and Chili are celebrating the group’s second album with a special performance that’ll include hits like “Creep”, “Diggin’ On You”, and the mega hit “Waterfalls”. And attendees will be drenched in ‘90s nostalgia, as TLC is joined by 20th-Century hip-hop standouts Bone Thugs-N-Harmony. Pull out your bike shorts and graphic tees, and be sure to bring your friends to help you sing along.–Al Pete

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St. Augustine Record Fair – Sunday, September 26

St. Augustine Amphitheatre | 1340C A1A S 

As the JME contributor team is made up of admitted crate diggers, this is an event after our own hearts. More than two dozen vinyl slingers will be hawking new and used must-haves and rarities from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Amp. The event is free but, of course, you’ll want to bring your wallet (and maybe some self-control).–Matthew Shaw

This is a Free Event

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