North Mississippi musicians celebrate the blues at Hill Country Picnic

When Kenny Brown started the Hill Country Picnic, he really had only North Mississippi in mind. The bluesman dreamed of a festival where the sound of the region – hill country blues – would be performed for and by North Mississippians.
How quickly a festival grows.
Now in its fifth year, the festival is way bigger than North Mississippi.
“Last year we had car tags from 31 states and people from seven countries,” Brown said, “so that’s pretty good.”

Southern hospitality
Despite the growth of the event, Brown said the Hill Country Picnic is still what he envisioned.
It’s still set out in a pasture in Potts Camp, with a creek nearby for folks to cool off. The line-up changes from year to year, but it still features many of the same Mississippi musicians performing music they love.
The atmosphere is pure Mississippi, Brown said.
“Everybody just seems to be really laid back, having a really good time. Some writer wrote that he hadn’t been there 10 minutes, and somebody had offered him watermelon and helped him put up his tent,” he said.
That friendly atmosphere is felt between the performers, too.
Although many of the artists are from the area, they rarely get the opportunity to see each other or perform together.
“I’m sure there’ll be a lot of jamming going on. It’s like a festival, but it’s also like a family reunion, too,” Brown said.
Brown is wrapping up the festival with a performance. After seeing so many of his colleagues perform before him, he admits it’s a little daunting to take the stage at the end.
“They keep putting me on at the end of the night, and half the songs I like have already been played,” he said, laughing.
Brown invites anyone from anywhere to check out what music – and more – North Mississippians have to offer.
“If you want to experience some really good hill country music and Southern hospitality and Southern cooking, this is the place to come,” he said.

Check it out
- What: Hill Country Picnic
- When: June 25-26
- Where: Potts Camp. For directions, visit
hillcountrypicnic.com.
- Cost: $25/festival only Friday or Saturday, $65/three-day
pass with camping and cooler, $25/camping, $10/cooler fee,
$100/Thursday workshop, all plus fees. Free/12 and under.
- Info: hillcountrypicnic.wordpress.com
- Extra: The festival is a cash-only event, and no glass or
pets allowed.

Music schedule
FRIDAY, JUNE 25
- 3 p.m. – Shannon McNally
- 3:40 p.m. – Blue Mother Tupelo
- 4:20 p.m. – Robert Belfour
- 5 p.m. – Cedric Burnside & Lightnin’ Malcolm
- 6 p.m. – T Model Ford
- 7 p.m. – Robert Kimbrough Sr. Blues Connection
- 8 p.m. – Hill Country Revue
- 9 p.m. – Burnside Exploration
- 10 p.m. – Alvin Youngblood Hart
- 11 p.m. – Jimbo Mathus

SATURDAY JUNE 26
- 11:15 a.m. – Jay Lang & the Ringers
- Noon – Eric Deaton
- 1 p.m. – Rocket 88
- 2 p.m. – John Wilkins
- 3 p.m. – Little Joe Ayers
- 4 p.m. – Kent Burnside
- 5:15 p.m. – Rising Star Fife and Drum Band
- 6 p.m. – Loose Shoes
- 7 p.m. – North Mississippi Allstars Duoluco
- 8:15 p.m. – Blue Mountain
- 9:30 p.m. – DuWayne Burnside
- 10:45 p.m. – Kenny Brown

Sheena Barnett/NEMS Daily Journal