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Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Press release for Bridging the Blues


Arkansas, Mississippi and Tennessee join the Bridging the Blues experience

Third annual event to feature two+ weeks of live music and hundreds of musicians

Full schedule here: http://btb.do/KssERI

More than a hundred musical events, including 15 festivals, are scheduled for the third annual Bridging the Blues (BTB), a cooperative effort between Arkansas, Mississippi and Memphis that takes place from September 26 thru October 12. In addition to weekend festivals, there are special events including shows at vintage juke joints, Mississippi Blues Trail marker unveilings, public talks with blues artists, live radio programs, and blues competitions.

The first weekend of BTB includes three festivals: Clarksdale’s Delta Busking Festival (September 26-28), Gonerfest in Memphis (September 27), and, in Hollandale, the Sam Chatmon Blues and BBQ Festival (September 7), featuring leading artists of the Delta music scene.

After a successful debut last year the Mighty Mississippi Music Festival (October 3-5) in Greenville, Mississippi, returns this year with artists including Gov’t Mule and Dr. John on the Mighty Main Stage, and a full lineup of traditional artists on the Highway 61 Blues Stage. Camping, late night movies and sports access is part of the fun at beautiful Warfield Point Park on the Mississippi River.

One of the key events during BTB is the four-day King Biscuit Blues Festival (October 8-11) in Helena, Arkansas. Celebrating its 29th year, the “Biscuit” features a lineup including Roy Rogers & Sonny Landreth, Delbert McClinton, Jimmy Vivino and the Black Italians (house band for Conan O’Brien’s late night TV show), and other festival favorites like Bobby Rush and James Cotton. Dozens of acts perform across multiple stages, and there’s plenty more music along historic Cherry Street.

On the Sunday following the “Biscuit” there are three festivals in Clarksdale—the 14th Annual Pinetop Perkins Homecoming, the Cat Head Mini Blues Festival, and the Second Street Blues Party.

Clubs throughout the region have extra bookings throughout BTB, and special events include shows at the legendary Po’ Monkey’s juke joint (October 2 & 9) near Merigold, Mississippi, a performance by Big Tyme Rhythm and Blues Band at historic Club Ebony (October 3) in Indianola, and an appearance by Jimmy “Duck” Holmes at the Blue Front Cafe (October 2) in Bentonia, Mississippi, which his family has operated since the late ‘40s. Other special events include multiple shows at Memphis’s outdoor amphitheater, Levitt Shell, and a “Blues Tweet Up” (October 8) featuring Blind Mississippi Morris at the Gateway to the Blues Welcome Center in Tunica, Mississippi.

Monday through Friday at 12:15 p.m. you can watch veteran broadcaster Sonny “Sunshine” Payne host the legendary King Biscuit Time radio program over KFFA via a studio at the Delta Cultural Center in Helena. A special edition of Thacker Mountain Radio (October 11) in Como, Mississippi, will feature a group from blues legend Mississippi Fred McDowell’s home church, Hunter’s Chapel MBC, and Beale Street Caravan will be recording many of the BTB events for later broadcast on over 600 internationally-syndicated non-commercial radio stations worldwide.

In addition, there are special exhibits up at the Stax Museum of American Soul Music in Memphis, the Delta Blues Museum in Clarksdale, the Highway 61 Blues Museum in Leland, the B.B. King Museum & Delta Interpretive Center in Indianola, and the Delta Cultural Center in Helena.

Regional competitions for the International Blues Challenge will be held by the Memphis Blues Society at the Rum Boogie Cafe on Beale Street (October 8), while the Vicksburg Blues Society’s event will take place at Ameristar Casino’s Bottleneck Blues Bar (October 12).

The International Conference on the Blues (October 6-7) debuts this year at Delta State University, featuring an interview and performance by Grammy® award-winner Alvin Youngblood Hart. The 4th Annual Call and Response Blues Symposium (October 11) takes place in Helena during the King Biscuit Blues Festival and features several panels of musicians and blues journalists.

Unveilings for three Mississippi Blues Trail markers are scheduled to honor soul legend Willie Mitchell (Ashland, Mississippi, September 27), the location of the legendary railway intersection “Where the Southern ‘Crosses the Dog” (Moorhead, Mississippi, October 2), and harmonica great Sonny Boy Williamson II (Helena, October 9). There are over fifty Mississippi Blues Trail (www.msbluestrail.com) markers in the Delta region alone.

Bridging the Blues has attracted tens of thousands of visitors from across the nation and around the globe and was recently named an event to watch in ABA’s Top 100 Events in North America for 2015. Mississippi Tourism Association named BTB as the 2013 Tourism Achievement Winner and Acoustic Guitar Magazine also named Mighty Mississippi Music Festival as the “do not miss” fest in Mississippi.

This year, Mississippi Delta Tourism Association is asking you to upload your own photos from Bridging the Blues using the hashtag#BridgingtheBlues2014. A winner will be chosen to receive a Nikon Camera. To sign up, visit bridgingtheblues.visitthedelta.com.

To see our most recent promotional video for Bridging the Blues, seehttp://btb.do/YxNsRZ (vimeo. com/105914105).

For more information and a full schedule of events visitwww.bridgingtheblues.com.

You can also follow BTB on Facebook (www.facebook.com/BridgingTheBlues), Instagram (@bridgingtheblues) and Twitter (@BridgingBlues).

Bridging the Blues is a partnership between Mississippi Delta Tourism Association, Arkansas Delta Byways, Arkansas Parks & Tourism, the Mississippi Development Authority Division of Tourism, and the Memphis Convention and Visitors Bureau.

Contact: Megan Slaughter 662-453-7078 megan@hammons.com

Friday, September 12, 2014

Blues stage to be featured during Octoberfest in Cleveland, Mississippi (October 10-11)

One of the featured artists during Octoberfest is Mark "Muleman" Massey, who
learned to play the blues while playing in the Parchman Prison Band

This year the 32nd annual Octoberfest in downtown Cleveland, Mississippi is adding the "Airport Grocery Blues Stage," which will feature music on Friday night and during the day on Saturday. On Friday October 10 the psychedelic blues band Solar Porch will perform from 6 - 9 p.m., and on Saturday October 11 the Mark "Muleman" Massey Blues Band will perform from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., followed by the Muddy Kings from Charleston, South Carolina, who will play from 2 - 4 p.m.

"The blues stage will add another element of music to the traditional acts at Octoberfest," says Judson Thigpen, Executive Director of the Cleveland Bolivar Chamber of Commerce. “Because of the role the blues has played in the delta, we thought it would be a good addition to Octoberfest.” 

The festival will also feature various other music, including country, bluegrass, rock'n'roll and and the Delta State University Tuba Players.

In addition to the musical lineup, Octoberfest  includes a Memphis Barbeque Network sanctioned barbeque contest. Competitors from all over the country come to compete for the one-of-a-kind Octoberfest pig trophy and the title of Mississippi Delta State Barbeque Champions. It will also feature a children’s area that includes face painting, a rock climbing wall, inflatables, train rides and more. Over 125 arts and crafts vendors will line the sidewalks on Saturday.

For more information about Octoberfest, call the Cleveland Bolivar County Chamber of Commerce at (662)843-2712 or email lisa@clevelandmschamber.com

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During Bridging the Blues Cleveland is also hosting the debut of the International Conference on the Blues, on October 6 & 7 at Delta State University. Events will include a concert by Grammy winner Alvin Youngblood Hart on the 6th. For more information see the schedule.

There will also be shows on October 2 & 9 at the legendary Po' Monkey's juke joint in Merigold, just north of Cleveland.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Art exhibits during Bridging the Blues

The show Backporch Blues, featuring the works of Mississippi Delta artists Bub Branton, Ellen Bidwell Dudley, Grace Buchanan, Cliff Speaks and Park Neff opens on September 12 the Greenville Arts Council's E.E. Bass Cultural Arts Center in the Roger D. Malkin Gallery at 323 South Main St

There will also be a poster signing with Cristen Barnard, the winner of the contest for the poster for the Highway 61 Blues stage of the Mighty Mississippi Music FestivalThe opening and show are part of "Blues Week," leading up to the Mississippi Delta Blues & Heritage Festival on September 20. 

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Como, Mississippi-based sculptor Sharon McConnell-Dickinson's blues "lifecasts" are on display at Delta State University's  Ewing Hall on the DSU campus--its the first building to your left as you enter campus on Highway 8. Over the last two decades Dickinson has captured the faces of dozens of blues artists, including legends Koko Taylor, Robert Lockwood, Jr., and Bobby "Blue" Bland. For more information visit her website.

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The Delta Cultural Center in Helena, Arkansas is hosting the show "Delta in Blues," a series of cyanotype photographs by Beverly Buys. Cyantotype is a photographic printing process that produces a cyan-blue print. The exhibit will be up from August 14 - December 31. The DCC is open Tuesday through Saturday, 9am - 5pm.

The Center is also hosting the exhibits "Fine Tuned Strings: The Guitars of Delta Cultural Center,including guitars owned and used by blues artists CeDell Davis, Jimmy Rogers, Robert Nighthawk and Howlin’ Wolf, and "Songs from the Field," which tells the early story of Delta music including field songs and field hollers and the songs of the enslaved peoples of the Arkansas Delta. 

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Bobby Rush by H.C. Porter

The exhibit Blues @ Home by Vicksburg-based artist H.C. Porter is on display at the B.B. King Museum and Delta Interpretive Center in Indianola through October 2. The show is based on photographs of 30 artists that Porter made and then transformed through painting. The portraits include a wide range of artists, ranging from B.B. King to lesser-known musicians such as T-Bone Pruitt of Laurel and YZ Ealey of Natchez. To read more about the project and to view many of the portraits, visit the Blues @ Home website.

International Blues Challenge regional competitions in Vicksburg and Memphis during Bridging the Blues

On October 12, during the third weekend of Bridging the Blues, is the Vicksburg Blues Challenge. It's a regional competition hosted by the Vicksburg Blues Society for the International Blues Challenge, which will take place in Memphis in 2013, arranged by the Blues Foundation.  The Challenge will be at the Ameristar Casino's Bottleneck Blues Bar, with solo/duo acts competing at 2 p.m and bands at 5 p.m. For entry info contact shirley@vicksburgblues.net

The Memphis Blues Society has announced the call for Bands and Solo/Duo Acts to compete in the Memphis Blues Society "Road to the Challenge" Competition on October 8-9 from 7 pm on at Rum Boogie Cafe on Beale Street.