FLORENCE — Money raised by the premiere of the Muscle Shoals music documentary will be used to help the Alabama Music Hall of Fame and to create a new exhibit that will focus exclusively on the Muscle Shoals sound.
Ticket sales have been brisk for Wednesday’s premiere of “Muscle Shoals,” which explores the early days of Muscle Shoals music and the rise of Rick Hall’s FAME Recording Studios and Muscle Shoals Sound Studios.
Money from ticket sales will go toward the Alabama Music Hall of Fame and the Southern Music Foundation, a new nonprofit that was created by Alabama Music Hall of Fame Executive Director Wiley Barnard.
“The mission of the Southern Music Foundation is to preserve and promote the legacy and history of Southern music,” Barnard said.
He said the first project is an exhibit that will focus on Muscle Shoals music.
Rodney Hall, president of FAME Music Publishing and chairman of the Alabama Music Hall of Fame’s board of directors, said that would likely be the focus of the foundation for “several years.”
Barnard said he has acquired a federal tax ID number for the foundation and is in the process of filing paperwork that will allow it to become a 501(c)(3) nonprofit.
“I tried to create something that has a more broad stroke to it,” Barnard said. “We’re trying to create something that a lot of different organizations can benefit from.”
Hall said the movie premiere is one of the first events the foundation is undertaking.
“We’re looking at some other projects,” he said.
Barnard said a new organization was needed to raise money for the hall of fame and Muscle Shoals-specific projects because the hall of fame’s name had been “tainted” over the years. He said it became difficult to raise money for the music hall of fame.
Hall said the money raised from the film will be used to pay off the hall of fame’s delinquent utility bills, money owed to former employees and other unpaid debts.
“We want to bring our invoicing and billing up to date, then assess what we have and move forward,” Barnard said.
Hall said the Alabama Music Hall of Fame would likely not reopen until a source of funding can be found to keep it open longer than just a couple of months.
The facility closed around Christmas and has not reopened. The utilities have been turn off.
“Part of the money will be diverted to a Muscle Shoals-specific project separate from and above the hall of fame efforts,” Barnard said.
Judy Hood, who is handling publicity for the movie premiere, said tickets were moving briskly.
The premiere at the Marriott Shoals Conference Center in Florence marks the beginning of the George Lindsey-University of North Alabama Film Festival.
Hood said about 200 tickets and 40 tables had been sold for the Wednesday premiere.
Individual VIP tickets for the premiere are $100 and include gallery seating and one after-show party pass.
Tables start at $1,000 and include a variety of perks such as admission to a pre-show meet-and-greet, on-stage recognition, after-show passes, T-shirts and hats.
The after-show concert will feature an all-star band led by Florence resident John Paul White, one half of the Grammy Award winning folk/Americana duo The Civil Wars.
Confirmed guest stars include soul singer Candi Staton, rhythm-and-blues artist Delbert McClinton, Christine Olhman of the Saturday Night Live Band, former Grateful Dead vocalist and solo artist Donna Jean Godchaux-MacKay, former Lynyrd Skynyrd guitarist Ed King and Alabama Shakes lead vocalist Brittany Howard.
Hood said other guests will be announced later.
Another screening of “Muscle Shoals” takes place March 1 at Norton Auditorium on the University of North Alabama campus.
Hood said approximately 700 tickets have been sold for the UNA screening.
For information about the March 1 screening, call 256-765-4592 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
For general information, call Florence/Lauderdale Tourism at 256-740-4141 or 888-356-8687 or email Debbie@visitflorenceal.com.
Russ Corey can be reached at 256-740-5738 or russ.corey@TimesDaily.com.