By Joe Crews
For Hometown News
Fresh and unique music from more than 180 acts will fill the air on Saturday, Nov. 3, as the 12th annual DeLand Original Music Festival occupies 30 indoor and outdoor stages scattered throughout historic downtown DeLand.
The festival, which starts at 1 p.m. and runs until 1 a.m., is presented by the Songwriters Showcases of America. The association also will be conducting its 2012 SSA Music Awards during the event.
The music will be presented by a variety of mostly local and regional performers with a broad range of styles, including rock, jazz, blues, country, bluegrass, hip-hop, electronica, industrial, folk, Christian rock, metal, ska and more. Also on hand this year will be a wide variety of street vendors and artists.
"The festival is the largest one-day, original music festival in the Southeast," SSA president and festival organizer Phil Weidner said in a news release. "Downtown DeLand provides a perfect backdrop to showcase these acts at one of the nation's top award-winning historic downtown districts."
In an interview, Mr. Weidner said the festival gets a lot of support from the musical acts and from the merchants.
"We definitely get a lot of acts that want to perform and get a lot of exposure," he said. "The merchants downtown really support it by providing the venues."
While this is the 12th year for this fall event, SSA last April sponsored DeLandapalooza, a similar festival spread throughout downtown.
"It was added to the schedule because the merchants asked for something in the spring," Mr. Weidner said. "We hope to continue it in the future in the late-March to end-of-April period."
Mary Beth Harris, assistant director of MainStreet DeLand Association, said the festival means a lot to the merchants downtown.
"A lot of them have venues inside their stores or establishments, and they'll have people who come specifically for this event, either for one or two acts or the entire 12 hours," Ms. Harris said. "A lot of them are first-time visitors, so this will open their eyes to the other charms DeLand has to offer."
It also coincides with Stetson University's Alumni Weekend, she said, giving the downtown merchants even more business.
This year's event will take place on eight outdoor stages, with main stages in front of Issues on East Indiana Ave. and in a city parking lot nearby, behind the Elusive Grape. There also will be nearly two dozen smaller indoor venues, such as beer-and-wine bar Abbey on Woodland Blvd.
Steve Evans, one of Abbey's owners, said previous ownership had begun supporting the festival, so he and his partner continued the tradition.
"Ultimately, it's a really good day for downtown. We get a lot of people who might not otherwise visit DeLand, especially the out-of-town people," Mr. Evans said. "It's probably one of our top three days, business-wise."
Discounted advanced tickets can be purchased online at www.ssa.cc or at Steve's Downtown Music in DeLand and Atlantic Sounds in Daytona Beach. Tickets are $10 in advance or $15 at the gate. Children ages 12 & under are free.
The festival sponsors include Backstage Pass Magazine, Hometown News, Pipe Dreams, Miller Lite and Sanford/Orlando International Airport.
The event will be held rain or shine.