Jason Isbell and The 400 Unit will headline the 2019 Double Decker Festival on April 27, as announced by city officials, event planners and sponsors on Thursday morning.
Isbell, who has won four Grammy awards for his country rock stylings, started out playing guitar with the Drive By Truckers. In 2007, Isbell began to focus on his solo career before joining forces with The 400 Unit to release three albums. The 2017 album “The Nashville Sound” is their most recent.
Eric Gales, Shovels & Rope, Lilly Hiatt, Lucero, Cedric Burnside, Emily King, Kate Teague, Muy Caliente and Durand Jones and the Indications will also perform over the weekend.
After the announcement, some students and Oxonians took to social media to express their excitement about the Double Decker schedule. Junior forensic chemistry major Claire Dutreix tweeted that she’s excited to hear “Cover Me Up,” her favorite of Isbell’s songs.
Dutreix said that, though she’s excited for the lineup every year, Jason Isbell and The 400 Unit will have special significance.
“I was very excited that I’ll be able to hear (‘Cover Me Up’) played live because it’s been with me throughout the past few years of my college experience,” she said. “It’ll be cool to do a deeper dive with all of Isbell’s music before the concert.”
Double Decker coordinator Lee Ann Stubbs said securing the act would not have been possible without the Student Activities Association’s support.
“I think the students will be excited,” Stubbs said. “I think the community is going to be excited. I think we’re going to have a bigger crowd than we’ve ever had before.”
For the third year in a row, Vice Chancellor of Intercollegiate Athletics Ross Bjork announced that the athletics department provided the University Museum with the money so the museum could be a presenting sponsor. Bjork said the athletics department does this to bring the university and community together.
“The best way we can show leadership is to serve others. We have the ability to do that,” Bjork said. “We are only as good as we are collectively, and so, when we maximize our potential and when we unify as a community, great things can happen.”
Oxford resident Ronzo Ball has attended Double Decker since its inception. Ball said he loves the festival because it brings people together.
“It’s such a community thing, and I’m so glad that they’re now coordinating with the students,” Ball said. “Now that the students have something to say in who some of the headliners are, it changes everything.”
Local artist Vicki Stevens’s poster submission was selected to be this year’s official Double Decker poster. Stevens said she wanted to highlight the bus in her piece because it is something that will always remind people of Oxford.
“The bus has such a big personality,” Stevens said. “I feel like when people leave Oxford and come back, maybe they run into the bus again on campus or on the Square. It’s almost like running into an old friend.”