Birmingham hosts inaugural Freedom Fest

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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — Thousands came out to Kelly Ingram Park Saturday to attend Freedom Fest, a music festival featuring a series of panels meant to “empower” attendees.

“We want people to walk away feeling empowered, we want people to walk away feeling entertained,” said Jasmine Phillips, media coordinator for the event. “We want the two worlds to come together because music brings people together.”

“The music is good, the food looks good too, so I’m excited about being here and having a good time,” said Adrienne Bazile, who attended the event.

Freedom Fest provided different entertainment options for those who attended. On one hand, people could listen to music acts like 8Ball and MJG and Birmingham’s own Ruben Studdard, all while perusing items for sale from some of the many vendors.

On the other hand, festival-goers could attend panels scheduled throughout the day hosted by figures such as Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin and U.S. Senator Doug Jones (D-AL).

“These empowerment sessions are really important,” Jones said. “It’s a way of getting people engaged and keeping them engaged so I really commend the mayor for putting this together and for having the idea to do it.”

“The fact that we can lift our voices with local heroes, local elected officials and others who can speak to our residents about issues that concern them, it’s extremely important,” Woodfin said.

Both Jones and Woodfin agreed that the turnout numbers were good, but next year they want to make the event bigger and grander.

For Bazile, she’s completely on board with the idea that this event becomes an annual tradition.

“It’s good to have people come together and have a good time with a good type of event so we can learn about each other and come together and be in unity,” Bazile said.

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