More than 30,000 festival-goers filled the streets of downtown Hattiesburg on April 7 for the annual Hubfest despite cold winds and the threats of rain. People from all over the Pine Belt gathered in one spot for music, food, crafts and a celebration of Historic Downtown Hattiesburg shops.
“We love to take advantage of the Hubfest atmosphere and participate,” front of house manager at Gratefull Soul Jessica Thompson Bryant said. “It is a really good thing for Hattiesburg because it brings in a lot of tourists.”
President of the Area Development Partnership Chad Newell said that there were more than 200 vendors at the festival and that they were using almost all of the downtown area for the festival. The festival boasted four stages with over 14 acts playing at a given time.
The ADP is a private, non-profit organization that attempts to stimulate Hattiesburg’s economic growth with events like Hubfest.
“Fortunately, this is paid for by corporate and public-sector sponsors that have stepped up and by the exhibitors, so that allows our citizens throughout the Pine Belt area to come enjoy arts, crafts and live music at no cost,” Newell said.
Freshman entertainment industry studies major from Birmingham, Alabama Anna Richardson said that this was her first time coming to Hubfest.
“I really like how it is inclusive of all of downtown,” Richardson said. “It is really interesting because in Birmingham we have Sloss Fest, but it is only for part of downtown. It is not for the whole thing. It really brings families and everyone around instead of a certain demographic.”