Macon is hailed as the place “where soul lives.” It’s also the place where soul grew up. Otis Redding was just 5 years old when his family moved from Dawson, Georgia to Macon, according to author Eric Siegfried Holtz.
Here, he would hone his musical craft until his death in 1967. Redding lost his life in a plane crash at the age of 26.
Today, decades after his passing, he’s hailed as the “King of Soul” around the world. Still, here in Macon, he means just a little bit more.
“Otis Redding is Macon’s hometown hero even today,” said Otis Redding Foundation Representative Karla Andrews in an email. “His kind spirit and love for his
fellow Maconites regardless of color or socio-economic status still resonates with everyone.”
In celebration of what would have been Redding’s 75th birthday, Downtown Macon is pairing with the Otis Redding Foundation to commemorate Redding’s life with a week of events beginning Sept.7.
Andrews hopes that Mercer students will be a part of the festivities so they can see the impact Redding has had on fans.
“Students should … experience the loyalty of Otis Redding fans not only from Macon but from around the world who are young, middle age and in their senior years,” Andrews said.
To begin the celebration, there will be a bottle release party held by the Macon Beer Company to showcase a special new brew called Macon Dreams.
The beer was created specifically in commemoration of Otis Redding’s 75th birthday, according to the company’s site.
Tickets to this event will be $30. It will take place Sept. 7 from 6-10 p.m.
On Thursday, Sept. 8, The Tubman Museum will partner with the Otis Redding Foundation present a Visual Art Contest and Gallery Opening at 5 p.m.
Friday, Sept. 9, which has been dubbed “Otis Redding Day,” will be full of exciting events. To kick the day off, there will be live music and entertainment at Cherry Street Plaza starting at 11 a.m.
A special screening of “Unsung,” an hour long music documentary program, will be presented by The Douglass Theatre at 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. Friday as well.
NewTown Macon will continue its’ monthly First Friday celebrations in the evening.
On Saturday evening, Sept. 10, Bragg Jam and the Macon Film Festival will come together to present what they call “A Picnic Under the Stars with Otis Red-
ding.” This event will be held on Coleman Hill at 9 p.m. They will be screening concert footage of Otis Redding.
Afterwards, the Tubman African American Museum will present “The King of Soul: Otis Redding in Photographs.”
These events will culminate into one very special night. Sunday has been named “An Evening of Respect.”
There will be a “star-studded” tribute concert and fundraiser at the Macon City Auditorium. It will feature a reunion of the ’80s group The Reddings with Mark Lockett, Sam Moore, Robert McDuffie, and others.
“I am most looking forward to the tribute concert featuring Redding’s sons Dexter and Otis III and Grammy nominated St. Paul & the Broken Bones who put their new release album tour on hold to participate in the concert,” Andrews said in an email.
The Otis Redding Foundation DREAM Choir will be performing as well. All proceeds for this event will benefit the Otis Redding Foundation.
Ticket prices will vary for each event.
For this information and more, visit otisreddingfoundation.org.