Art & Design Magazine

Clarksdale Blues Festival: Day One

By Billlives

We attended two days of this year’s edition of Juke Joint Festival in Clarksldae, MS. The event describes itslef as “half blues festival, half small-town fair and all about the Delta."  During the daytime, there were a dozen small stages. At night, all of the surviving juke joints, blues clubs, are open with live music. There was a full pre-festival event on Friday. Big George Brock closed it out for us at a packed Red's Lounge. In his 70s, his statue and voice are still big. He sang reminiscence of Muddy Waters and played the harmonica like Little Walter.


During the day there were multiple popup venues on the streets, as well as clubs. You can see some of the venues below including Pete’s Grill and Red’s Lounge were George played with a cooker out front creating wonderful smells. There is also the Ground Zero Blues Club.



We sat in on long interviews at the Delta Blues Museum with two other blues guys in their 80s, LC Ulmer and Leo Welch (shown). They both sang and told stories of growing up playing blues in rural MS. There were also many clubs with acts.



For dinner we found a very spicy crawfish boil at a club while a band from Tupelo played. 


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