Some people behind a promising Huntsville music festival discontinued during the pandemic are launching a new fest.

The debut T-Minus Music Fest is set for June 18 at Orion Amphitheater.

The lineup boasts Grammy-winning roots band Old Crow Medicine Show; cosmic folk-rocker Aaron Lee Tasjan; rising country singer/songwriter Jaime Wyatt; and talented strummers Little and the Giants, featuring local tunesmith Alan Little.

Old Crow Medicine Show is best known for their 2004 track “Wagon Wheel.” The song is a singalong update of an unfinished Bob Dylan demo. Although it’s since been covered to death by bar-band hacks – and also for a Darius Rucker country hit – don’t hold that against Old Crow.

Principles behind T-Minus Music Fest include Yellowhammer Brewing. The local brewery was part of the team that put on Tangled String Music Festival. In 2018 and 2019, that small-scale, one-stage festival was held downtown at Big Spring Park East. Tangled String Fest performers included Drivin’ N’ Cryin’, Amanda Shires and Cedric Burnside.

Like T-Minus Music Festival, Tangled String Music Festival was a one-day event. TSMF lineups each included four or five acts. After the pandemic hit, Tangled String Fest has not returned. Yellowhammer general manager Ethan Couch says the brewery is looking at T-Minus Fest, “as a continuation of our efforts” doing Tangled String Music Festival.

Tangled String Fest grew out of Spring Fest, which Yellowhammer and Tangled String Studios were also a part of. Spring Fest performers included John Paul White and The Dexateens. Initially, Spring Fest, which built up to two-days in 2017, was held at Yellowhammer’s earlier brewery location but then moved to a grassy field at Campus No. 805, the entertainment/retail development where YH is now located.

Others involved with Tangled String Music Festival included Tangled String Studios, home to local luthier Danny Davis Guitars and now-defunct listening-room venue Tangled String. Davis will serve as the emcee for T-Minus Music Fest. The festival is named for Yellowhammer’s T-Minus Kolsch, a tangerine-hued beer. Sales of T-Minus Kolsch have helped raise funds for the U.S. Space & Rocket Center Education Foundation, which provides Space Camp financial assistance for youths who’d be unable to afford otherwise.

All proceeds from T-Minus Music Festival will be donated to the U.S. Space & Rocket Center Education Foundation, according to Yellowhammer. They’re hoping to raise $100,000 from the concert.

“In this town, we need to support kids that are underprivileged,” Couch says. “They also offer merit based scholarships too. But we just wanted to give back to our community that’s given us so much, and we just can’t think of a more fitting way for Huntsville,” a city known for its aerospace legacy.

Yellowhammer’s prior experience putting on one-day, small-scale music festivals are a big reason why they decided to hold their latest festival at Orion, the soon to debut amphitheater off University Drive, rather than returning to Big Spring Park or another verdant location.

“Managing the festival itself,” Couch says, “with personnel, equipment – it’s a huge undertaking. When you have a one-day event, you’ve got to pull a lot of people together and get them on the same page for one thing” Couch gives props to volunteers and YH staff that helped with their previous music fests.

Still, that rapid coordination was tricky. “Going to the Orion made it a lot easier because they handle a lot of that stuff that we had to coordinate – whether it was security, ticket takers and beer vendors. We’ll pay for it, but it’ll be managed through Orion, which is a welcome change.”

The natural location for T-Minus Music Festival would’ve been the Rocket Center. But with the Rocket Center undergoing renovations, Couch pivoted to Orion. “And they were excited about it,” he says.

And yes, you’ll be able to quench your thirst at T-Minus Music Festival with a T-Minus beer. The kolsch will be on tap at every bar inside Orion, and there will other seasonal YH beers featured that day, including the Mic Czech Pilsner, which was brewed for Tangled String Fest.