Since 2000 the Mississippi Delta region has enjoyed a blues renaissance, with the arrival of new festivals, venues, museums, and the Mississippi Blues Trail series of historic markers. To maximize visitors’ experiences of the area’s blues riches, the “Bridging the Blues” project is bringing America’s music by coordinating events over a ten-day period, September 28 to October 8. On the Arkansas side of the river, Bonnie Raitt, Bobby Rush and Taj Mahal will headline the King Biscuit Blues Festival.
Established outdoor events anchor the two weekends, beginning on September 29 with the Highway 61 Blues Festival in Leland, Miss., which celebrates blues heritage in the mid-Delta region. Then the world-famous King Biscuit Blues Festival in Helena, Ark., takes place from October 4 to October 6, with a lineup featuring both local legends and leading artists of the blues.
Juke joints, clubs, and casinos from Memphis down to Vicksburg will be presenting live music throughout the ten days, and visitors are encouraged to take self-guided tours throughout the region to visit the holy sites of the blues. Clarksdale, the home of many blues clubs, is hosting several street parties, while other cities in the region will include blues events as parts of downtown arts celebrations. Other events are scheduled before, after and between the festivals, at venues including the B.B. King Museum and Delta Interpretive Center in Indianola, Miss., the Delta Cultural Center in Helena, and the Hopson Plantation outside of Clarksdale, which hosts the annual Pinetop Perkins Homecoming on October 7.
There’s no set schedule—just a lot of opportunities for blues-lovers to make the most of their visit to the Delta.
September 29 — Indianola, Mississippi —“Art and Blues on the Bayou”
September 29 — Leland, Mississippi — HWY 61 Blues Festival
September 30 — Holly Ridge, Mississippi — Holly Ridge Jam, a blues jam at the resting place of blues pioneer Charley Patton
October 1 — Clarksdale, Mississippi – Live Blues Music at Hopson Commissary at Hopson Plantation
October 1 — Greenville, Mississippi — Give My Poor Heart Ease: Voices of the Mississippi Blues photographs of William Ferris, E.E. Bass
October 2 – Cleveland, Mississippi — Dockery Farm tours with Bill Lester, live music by Cadillac John and Bill Abel
October 2 – Vicksburg, Mississippi – LD’s Kitchen — Live music by Central Mississippi Blues Society starts at 8:30 pm
October 3 — Merigold, Mississippi — Po’ Monkey’s Blues Bash
October 3 — Helena, Arkansas “Biscuit and Jamz” King Biscuit Main Stage FREE
October 4 — Helena, Arkansas — King Biscuit Blues Festival, Headliner: Bobby Rush
October 4 — Greenwood, Mississippi — Art Alfresco Downtown
October 4 — Merigold, Mississippi — Po’ Monkey’s
October 5 — Helena, Arkansas — King Biscuit Blues Festival, Headliner: Taj Mahal
October 6 — Helena, Arkansas Bit ‘O Blues Stage King Biscuit Blues Festival FREE
October 6 — Helena, Arkansas — King Biscuit Blues Festival, Headliner: Bonnie Raitt
October 6 — Greenwood, Mississippi — Mississippi Blues Fest
October 6 — Clarksdale, Mississippi — 2nd Street Blues Party – Free street music Clarksdale near Rock & Blues Museum
October 6 — Rosedale, Mississippi — Otherfest, HWY 1, The River Resort
October 7 — Clarksdale, Mississippi — 2nd Street Blues Party – Free street music Clarksdale near Rock & Blues Museum
October 7 — Clarksdale, Mississippi — Cat Head Mini Blues Fest III
October 7 — Clarksdale, Mississippi — Pinetop Perkins Homecoming at Hopson in Clarksdale
October 8 — Clarksdale, Mississippi — Live Blues Music at Hopson Commissary at Hopson Plantation
— Mississippi Delta Tourism Association