Schaeffer Eye Center CityFest

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The Schaeffer Eye Center CityFest wsa a free music festival at Railroad Park in 2014 and 2015. It was created by Jack Schaeffer's Schaeffer Foundation as the successor to the Schaeffer Eye Center Crawfish Boil, which was held from 1986 to 2013.

The festival was originally to be called Uptown Live and held in the Uptown entertainment district, but the location was moved to Railroad Park due to other events booked at the BJCC.

In 2016 Schaeffer decided to put the festival on "hiatus", in part due to unanticipated costs related to the Schaeffer Spectacles installation at Red Mountain Park.


The inaugural Schaeffer Eye Center CityFest was held on July 26, on the same day as a sold-out home game for the Birmingham Barons at adjoining Regions Field. In addition to musical acts like The Roots, Taylor Hicks and Ruben Studdard, the festival featured food trucks, craft beer, arts and crafts vendors, and a kids' play area.

Unofficial estimates of attendance at the inaugural CityFest ranged from 15,000 to 20,000, with more families than expected. Schaeffer promised to bring the festival back in 2015 with increased accommodation for children and families.


Scheffer waited until July 1 to announce the return of CityFest to Railroad Park for August 1, 2015.

Headliners for the free event included The Roots, Common, Taylor Hicks, DJ Coco, and Bad Brad & the Sipsey Slims. In addition to the food trucks and craft beer vendors, the festival included a ferris wheel and tethered hot air balloon. Proceeds from the event were donated to Camp Smile-A-Mile.

The Roots and Common shared the headliner slot from 9:20 to 11:30 PM. That portion of the show was live-streamed on Yahoo!


  • Colurso, Mary (April 24, 2014) "Schaeffer: Birmingham's Crawfish Boil transforming into new Uptown Live festival." The Birmingham News
  • Colurso, Mary (June 19, 2014) "New Schaeffer festival to feature The Roots, 2 'American Idol' winners at Railroad Park." The Birmingham News
  • McCarty, Sarah A. (July 27, 2014) "CityFest organizer Jack Schaeffer hopes to come back next year with 'bigger and better' event." The Birmingham News
  • Colurso, Mary (July 1, 2015) "Schaeffer Eye Center CityFest returns in 2015 with The Roots, Common, Taylor Hicks in Railroad Park." The Birmingham News
  • Colurso, Mary (August 2, 2015) "Schaeffer Eye Center CityFest 2015: Common & The Roots perform for thousands in packed Railroad Park." The Birmingham News
  • Steere, Tim (July 12, 2016) "Schaeffer Eye Center CityFest on hiatus." Birmingham Business Journal

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