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‘Shoals,’ the movie, to screen here this month
By Russ Corey -

FLORENCE — It debuted at the Sundance Film Festival in Utah to rave reviews and later this month Shoals residents will have a chance to see the documentary that tells the story of the rise of the Muscle Shoals music scene.

“Muscle Shoals” is coming to the Shoals as part of the George Lindsey Film Festival.

The first local screening will be held at the Marriott Shoals Hotel & Spa Conference Center ballroom on Feb. 27. The event marks the official opening of the festival.

In addition to the film, there will be a VIP meet and greet and an after-show concert featuring some of the biggest names in Shoals music.

Tickets for the premiere start at $100, which includes gallery seating and an after-show party pass. There also are several VIP packages priced at $1,000 to $25,000.

On March 1, the film will be presented at the University of North Alabama’s Norton Auditorium. Tickets for that showing are $20.

Proceeds from the VIP concert will go to the Alabama Music Hall of Fame and to support local exhibits relating to Muscle Shoals music.

“If you go to the VIP showing or the other one, you need to see this film if you have any interest at all about what’s going on in Muscle Shoals,” said Rodney Hall, president of FAME Music Publishing and chairman of the Alabama Music Hall of Fame board of directors. “Anybody who goes to see this, no matter how much you think you know about Muscle Shoals music, you’ll learn something. I did and I grew up in it.”

The event on Feb. 27 begins with a VIP meet and greet in the 360 Grille overlooking the Tennessee River.

Artists who appeared in the movie will participate in the event, as will members of the film’s production team.

“Muscle Shoals” will begin at 7 p.m. and will be followed by a short question-and-answer segment.

The evening will be capped with a concert featuring Muscle Shoals music legends and “our stars of today.” The band will be led by John Paul White, a Florence resident and one half of the multiple Grammy winning duo The Civil Wars.

Debbie Wilson, executive director of the Florence-Lauderdale Tourism Bureau, said interest in the VIP event is growing by word of mouth alone.

“We’ve already seen evidence of that,” Wilson said. “Some of our (convention and visitors bureau) folks from the north are going to be here for the premier. They’re buying tickets and reserving hotel rooms.”

The movie will be shown in the convention center ballroom, which hosted the premiere of “When I Find the Ocean” in 2006 and also is the home of the “Muscle Shoals to Music Row Live” concert series.

“Obviously, we’re very honored to host it,” Marriott Shoals General Manager Larry Bowser said. “To me, the movie is a tremendous opportunity to showcase the area.”

Wilson said the premiere and the general buzz about the documentary and the resurgence of Muscle Shoals music old and new should have a lasting impact on local tourism.

“From a tourism standpoint, this is a big deal,” she said. “A lot of other communities would love to have something this major to hang their tourism hat on.”

Cynthia Burkhead, co-director of the George Lindsey UNA Film Festival, said hosting the documentary is big news for the festival, too.

“We are honored that our festival was selected as one of the venues for this amazing documentary,” Burkhead said.

A question-and-answer session with local music legends will follow the UNA screening.

Russ Corey can be reached at 256-740-5738 or

Ticket information

Tickets for the Feb. 27 event may be purchased online at and email for sponsorship details

For information about the March 1 screening, call 256-765-4592 or email

For general information call Florence-Lauderdale Tourism at 256-740-4141 or 888-356-8687 or email

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