Local bands Southbound and Bad Habit will open the 13th annual Ham Jam Arts Festival in April, it was announced this week.

The festival begins Friday, April 11 and continues through Saturday, April 12 in downtown Philadelphia.

Festivities will begin with a concert on Friday night. Bad Habit will start at 7 p.m., followed by Southbound at 8 p.m.

Jeff Stewart, the lead vocalist for Southbound, said the band is excited to finally perform during Ham Jam.

"We've wanted to do this for a while," he said.

Before Southbound takes the stage they will be opened by Bad Habit, whose lead vocalist is familiar to Stewart. It's his son Nick!

Jeff Stewart, a lifetime musician and former member of the group Pearl River, has performed at many venues including the Magnolia Music Festival and several Blues events.

Southbound came together four years ago as a spin-off of the well known band Santa Fe, which Stewart started performing with 12 years ago.

"They were popular and still are," he said. "When they needed a helping hand on shows they called me and I filled in."

Stewart played with Santa Fe for seven years before a shift in the group led to the creation of Southbound.

The band is fronted by Stewart as lead vocalist, who notes that the rest of the guys provide backup vocals as well.

Other members include Nick Massey on electric guitar, Donnie Massey on acoustic guitar, Joe Latham on bass, Clint "Junior" Marshall on drums and Jessie Yates on Keyboard.

"We're very energetic," Stewart said. "We do a lot of Southern Rock, Party Country Music and Soul. It's very infectious."

Bad Habit was started two years ago when classmates of Nick's asked him if he wanted to perform with them.

"I eventually caved in," he said.

Nick provides vocals and plays guitar, while Tanner Moss plays drums, Thomas Howell plays guitar, Chase Fairchild plays bass and Johnathan Simmons plays keyboard and acoustic guitar.

"We mostly play Southern Rock," Nick said. "We play half covers and half original pieces."

He added that "Freebird" is their most popular song, followed by "Wagon Wheel."

Southbound, meanwhile, mostly performs cover songs, Stewart said.

"I didn't want to do it but they eventually talked me into performing 'Fool to Fall' from when I was with Pearl River," he said.

This is the first year Southbound has performed during Ham Jam, as opposed to Bad Habit which has performed the last two years.

Bad Habit also performed during the street party dedicating the new Ellis Theater marquee.

"We love playing and it's good to get seen," Nick said.

The festival area will be blocked off by 5:30 p.m. and the Friday night concert will begin at 7 p.m., featuring Bad Habit, with Southbound to follow at 8 p.m., Main Street Director Tim Moore said.

On Saturday of Ham Jam, Mayor James Young will officially open the festival at 8:15 a.m. with a welcome.

Currently we have had 25 art vendors and four food vendors to sign up but more are expected, Moore said.

There will be musical entertainment throughout the day on Saturday with the annual Jesus Jam to close out the festivities, beginning at 3 p.m.

Other entertainment includes a children's area, open on Friday from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. and on Saturday from 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

Visit www.hamjamartsfestival.com for complete festival information or call 1-877-752-2643 or contact Moore at 601-656-1000.