Howl with the Wolf: Blues festival kicks off next weekend

By Sheena Barnett/NEMS Daily Journal

Every region has its own style of the blues, from the North Mississippi hills to the city streets of Chicago to the plains of Texas.
The 17th annual Howlin’ Wolf Festival in West Point is tapping into all these different styles by hosting a festival full of blues artists from across the country. Representing the Lone Star State is Texas Johnny Brown, while Nick Moss & the Flip Tops hail from Chicago. St. Louis musician Marquise Knox will be there, and representing hill country blues is Lightnin Malcolm and Cameron Kimbrough.
“We try to please everybody,” said festival director Richard Ramsey.
The line-up is one of the best yet, he said.
“(Knox) is so good, I brought him back from last year. He is one not to be missed,” he said.
Moss has won 16 Blues Awards, Ramsey said.
“He’s bringing his new cracker jack band down here. We can’t wait to have him,” he said.
The Howlin’ Wolf Festival is in honor of blues great Howlin’ Wolf, born in West Point. He later moved to Chicago where he became one of the most famous Chicago bluesmen; he “hotwired rock ’n’ roll,” Ramsey said.
This year’s festival is also dedicated to Hubert Sumlin, Wolf’s guitarist who died in 2011.
“He was on Rolling Stone’s list of the best guitarists in the world. He was No. 42. He influenced Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, Keith Richards, you name it,” Ramsey said.
This year, the festival includes not only music but an autographed guitar giveaway. All of the artists will be on hand to autograph their CDs that are on sale, too.
The Howlin’ Wolf Festival welcomed blues fanatics from 25 states and six countries last year, and Ramsey expects plenty more out-of-towners at this year’s event.
“All these people are coming in because Mississippi is the birthplace of the blues,” he said. “If we didn’t have the blues, we wouldn’t have rock ’n’ roll. We’d have no structure to all the music we listen to today.”
sheena.barnett@journalinc.com

Fast Facts
WHAT: 17th Annual Howlin’ Wolf Festival

WHEN: 7 p.m. Aug. 31

WHERE: Mary Holmes College Auditorium, West Point

COST: $15/advance, $20/door

PERFORMERS: Texas Johnny Brown & the Quality Blues Band, Lightnin Malcolm with Cameron Kimbrough, Marquise Knox, Nick Moss & the Flip Tops

INFO: wpnet.org/Howlin_Festival.htm, (662) 605-0770

EXTRA INFO: Doors open at 6 p.m., and small coolers are allowed.

PRAIRIE ARTS FESTIVAL

SEPT. 1 IN WEST POINT is the Prairie Arts Festival. It includes music, classic cars, arts and crafts and a 5K. Learn more about it at wpnet.org/wp_paf.htm.