The Real Thing 

The Mississippi Delta tends to be still and quiet. But when the Sunflower River Blues and Gospel Festival comes to Clarksdale, no one can keep from tapping their feet.

Mississippi's largest blues and gospel festival celebrates its 20th anniversary this year with artists including Bobby Rush, Denise LaSalle (pictured), Billy Rivers, and the Angelic Voices of Faith.

"Last year, I think we had 17 countries and 35 states come," publicist Panny Mayfield says.

This year's performers include the Norwegian band Spoonful of Blues, which features 2007 Norwegian Grammy Award winner Rita Engedalen.

click to enlarge p._29_we_rec_1.jpg

"They have a kindred feeling with the musicians of the Mississippi Delta blues," Mayfield says of Spoonful of Blues. "They consider Clarksdale the cradle of the blues. They revere Mississippi and the Delta."

Mayfield adds that the festival is free to attend and run solely by volunteers: "We spend the whole year writing grants and seeking donations. The reason we don't charge is that the music started here. There are people who could not afford to come otherwise."

Sunflower River Blues differs from other blues festivals because it showcases pure blues, according to Mayfield. "It's the real thing. It's the purest blues festival in America," she says. "You'll hear lots of musicians you're not going to hear anywhere else. They're all somehow connected to the state of Mississippi."

As for the volunteer coordinators, Mayfield says, "We're a bunch of people who love the blues. We range from lawyers to prison guards to librarians. The blues holds it together."

Sunflower River Blues and Gospel Festival, Clarksdale, Mississippi, Friday-Sunday, August 10th-12th. Free.

Keep the Flyer Free!

Always independent, always free (never a paywall),
the Memphis Flyer is your source for the best in local news and information.

Now we want to expand and enhance our work.
That's why we're asking you to join us as a Frequent Flyer member.

You'll get membership perks (find out more about those here) and help us continue to deliver the independent journalism you've come to expect.


Favorite

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT

Blogs

From My Seat

Stubby's Stretch Run

Music Blog

Jose Feliciano Plays Unannounced Memphis Gig

Hungry Memphis

Welcome back, Restaurant Iris!

Music Blog

Gillian Welch Wows GPAC

Film/TV/Etc. Blog

Alpha

Intermission Impossible

In Praise of "Love and Murder" at Playhouse on the Square

News Blog

MATA Looks to Hire More Trolley Operators

Music Blog

Listen Up: Cruelty of the Heavens

News Blog

VIDEO: SUV Driver Swerves Into Cyclists

ADVERTISEMENT

More by Rachel Stinson

Readers also liked…

ADVERTISEMENT
© 1996-2018

Contemporary Media
460 Tennessee Street, 2nd Floor | Memphis, TN 38103
Visit our other sites: Memphis Magazine | Memphis Parent | Inside Memphis Business
Powered by Foundation