By Sheena Barnett/NEMS Daily Journal
The tagline for the Oxford Blues Festival is “just a reason to celebrate.” For Darryl Parker, that’s reason enough to host a weekend-long festival honoring the blues.
“I love music, I love the blues and I love my town, and I like celebrating,” the Oxford native said.
This is the second year Parker has hosted the Blues Festival in Oxford, and this year it has grown.
This weekend, blues artists will congregate at the University of Mississippi and around the Oxford Square. Some shows have a cover charge, but most are free. The festival rounds out on Sunday with a show at Foxfire Ranch.
“This year there are 12 free shows, so people will be able to hear some good blues without any pressure,” he said.
Parker booked bands that represented all shades of the blues.
“There’s North Mississippi hill country blues, Delta blues. I’ve got people doing funk, jazz, soul, country, folk styles,” he said.
That includes one of his favorite performers, Patrick McClary. McClary is best known these days a member of the country group the Minor Adjustments, but Parker said McClary has the blues in his soul.
“Patrick can get down and dirty with the blues, and then turn it around and do the same thing with country,” he said. “He’s the kind of guy, you give him one stool and he could play before 30,000 people and carry the show.”
McClary opens up for Magic Slim & the Teardrops.
“He puts on a great show,” he said. “If you had to choose between seeing a B.B. King show and a Magic Slim show, skip B.B. King and go see Magic Slim. You know, B.B. King is awesome, but I’m just being honest. (Slim) has a different energy.”
Parker invites all music fans to celebrate the blues with him.
“You’ll hear 25 bands, and we’re trying to make it as diverse as possible,” he said. “It’s really a reason for people to celebrate.”