Country Chart Topper Michael Ray to Headline Spirit on Mountain Street 2021
by Buffy Lockette
Jacksonville’s largest outdoor festival, Spirit on Mountain Street, is returning for the first time since the pandemic on Aug. 19. The fun-filled community event will include a free concert by rising country star Michael Ray.
Now in its 15th year, Spirit on Mountain Street is co-presented by JSU and the City of Jacksonville each August to kick off the school year for the university and local community. The city will close a portion of historic Mountain Street for the evening to allow dozens of area restaurants and other vendors to set up booths along the street in front of JSU Stadium.
The festivities will begin at 6 p.m., with music, live performances, games and a Kids Zone. Guests can graze the vendor tables sampling popular restaurant menu items in exchange for festival tokens, which are priced at $1 each. Adult beverages will be available for purchase for attendees ages 21 and older. Admission to the festival is free, and all proceeds will be donated to the Jacksonville Christian Outreach Center.
As the sun goes down, artist Michael Ray will take the stage at 8 p.m. in a free public concert presented by the JSU Student Government Association. This will be the fourth year the festival has ended with a concert. Starting in 2017, the lineup has included Riley Green, 2017; Morgan Wallen, 2018; and Scotty McCreery in 2019.
Raised in rural central Florida, music was Ray’s childhood refuge as he healed from the pain of his parents’ divorce. In four short years, he has built an impressive foundation for a lasting career in country music - including two hit records and three No. 1 songs. The third song off of his sophomore album Amos, “Her World or Mine,” produced a video that has captured more than 26 million YouTube views since its debut less than a year ago.
Now, two hit albums into that all-too-rare blend of a critically acclaimed and commercially successful career, Ray has released “Whiskey and Rain,” the first single off of his upcoming project produced by Grammy-nominated song whisperer Ross Copperman. Proof that heartbroken wallowing can feel good if it swings, “Whiskey and Rain” has garnered over eight million streams since its release, cementing Ray as the ideal bridge between vintage country cool and modern country’s best sounds.
Learn more about Ray at MichaelRayMusic.com or follow him on Instagram and Twitter @MichaelRayMusic and Facebook.com/MusicMichaelRay.