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FIRST ON 3: Lynyrd Skynyrd to headline second Azalea Festival concert

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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) -- Spring is right around the corner, and that means planning for the Azalea Festival is in full bloom. During a meeting Friday morning, the Azalea Festival executive committee revealed that Lynyrd Skynyrd will be rocking and rolling in downtown Wilmington for the Thursday night concert in April.

"I really think this venue is going to be exciting," said President of the Azalea Festival Executive Committee, Donna Cameron. "The river will be our backdrop. It will be something that Wilmington has never seen before."

Committee members say Lynyrd Skynyrd appeals to all ages. The band has something for everyone.

"They are famous for Southern Rock N Roll and this is a southern festival celebrating Wilmington, the community, and southern hospitality," said Vice President of the Azalea Festival Executive Committee, Liz Carroll.

Other big changes are in store for the concert, too. Much like azaleas, Wilmington is growing, and the committee looked towards a larger venue. Members decided to move the concert from UNCW's Trask Coliseum to a Cape Fear Community College lot downtown.

According to Public Information officer for CFCC David Hardin, the stage will be located in the lot closest to Front Street, with the Cape Fear River as its backdrop. The parking lot conveniently slopes downward to the stage so audience members will have an ideal view.

"The natural slope of the lot goes down towards the river," said Hardin. "The audience, we are estimating between 65-hundres to 8-thousand people can fit in this lot. They will be starting up at the top of the lot looking down to the stage down near Front Street on the river."

The Avett Brothers will perform for the second time during the Azalea Festival at Friday evening's concert. Committee members are excited to bring the party downtown. They say the larger venue is important for attracting national artists and bands like Lynyrd Skynyrd and The Avett Brothers, who will play in Friday's concert.

Lynyrd Skynyrd is probably best known for popularizing the southern hard-rock genre during the 1970s.

The Azalea Festival is April 10 - 14.

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