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THE SHOALS, Ala. — At the W.C. Handy Music Festival, there’s a little something for everyone to enjoy.

The festival is now in its 40th year and it’s bigger than ever, spanning two full weeks of events with plenty of live music.

It all started with a vision carried out by Sheffield native Willie Ruff, Dr. David Mussleman, and more along with the Music Preservation Society.

More than 200 events make up the festival and it wouldn’t be possible without the help of its participating venues, like the Alabama Music Hall of Fame in Tuscumbia.

“Any opportunity that we get to share that with the rest of the world, we want to do that, and Handy has done that since day one,” Executive Director Sandra Burroughs said.

Named after Florence native and “Father of the Blues” William Christopher Handy, the festival continues to spread beyond the Renaissance City with events also in Colbert and Franklin counties.

The festival is spreading into new areas of Lauderdale County as well. “Handy festival has actually extended out to my hometown of Lexington, Alabama,” Burroughs said. “Seeing folks gather in our small town of Lexington to actually participate in a Handy event has been really exciting for everybody.”

The excitement continues for the rest of the week into Sunday, August 1. To plan your festival experience, click here.