By Sheena Barnett/NEMS Daily Journal
From Delta blues to bluesy rock ‘n’ roll, all styles of the blues will be celebrated at this weekend’s Oxford Blues Festival.
Many of the musicians will perform from the porch of the Walton-Young House at the University Museum on the Ole Miss campus, and there will be a few select shows at venues around the Square in the evenings. The festival also includes food – catfish on Friday, barbecue on Saturday – and kids’ events, a panel discussion and raffles.
“It’s very simple: it’s a good, fun family event with music and food,” said organizer Darryl Parker.
The festival begins with a free blues panel discussion featuring blues musicians Sam Mosley and Jody Williams and blues photographer and writer Dick Waterman.
“It’s musicians and people in the industry who can talk about who influenced them, share interesting stories, but it’s also about the state of the blues today,” Parker said.
Then, blues musicians will take to the porch to perform for the afternoon.
“We chose that to give that down hoe feel instead of a traditional stage,” he said.
The headliner Friday is Chicago bluesman Jody Williams.
“He’s the last living member of Howlin’ Wolf’s band,” Parker said.
Ben Payton is Saturday’s headliner.
“He’s incredible,” Parker said. “He’s the real deal.”
Payton was recently chosen to represent Mississippi in Washington, D.C., in the American Folklife Center’s Homegrown Concert Series presented by the Library of Congress.
Shows continue each night on the Square and the festival concludes with a show by Pontotoc blues musician Terry “Harmonica” Bean on Sunday at Foxfire Ranch in Waterford.
“It’s going to be a good, fun, community-driven event that’s mean to let people get out and have a good time,” Parker said. “Whether you’re 18 or 80, come out and just enjoy.”
WHAT: Oxford Blues Festival
WHERE: Most music will be at the Walton-Young house at the University Museum in Oxford. Evening shows will take place at various venues around the Square.
COST: $10/adults, $5/children 5-12, free/children under 5. Tickets are half-off if you bring two canned goods for the Oxford Food Pantry, and you’ll be entered to win an electric guitar.