By Adam Ganucheau
OXFORD – Music fans enjoyed tunes and talk Friday during the fourth annual Oxford Blues Fest at the University of Mississippi.
After the festival kicked off Thursday night with headline act Johnny Winters, Friday attendees were treated to three separate panel discussions related to the blues and four music acts put on by local and regional blues artists.
“We put this on all for the community,” festival director Darryl Parker said. “It’s all about bringing the old and young together and celebrating our state’s history and heritage.”
Panel discussions began at noon Friday inside the university museum, and featured a promotion and tourism discussion with four field experts from different regions of the state, a blues scholar discussion with three cultural scholars and a musicians’ discussion with four musicians from the state. DeWayne Moore, a Ph.D. candidate at Ole Miss, moderated.
“We had a great turnout (at the panel discussions) and they all went really well,” Moore said. “My goal when determining the questions to ask was to try and allow the panel members to get just as much out of the discussions as the audience did.”
Moore said he learned the most from the musicians’ panel, which featured Delta blues legend “Big George” Brock, Clarksdale native Anthony “Big A” Sherrod, well-known musician and educator Alphonso Sanders and local Oxford musician Andrew “Cadillac” Yurkow.
“Even though I live in Oxford now, I grew up in Indianola,” Yurkow said. “It’s great to come here and share my story with people and get to sit next to three other legendary blues musicians. We have to do our best to promote the blues in Mississippi, and I think this festival does a great job of that.”
After the panel discussions, Anthony “Big A” Sherrod Trio, David Evans, Alphonso Sanders and “Big George” Brock performed.
“I moved to Oxford from Kentucky seven years ago, and didn’t know too much about the blues,” Oxford resident and festival attendee Winn Hutchcraft said. “This is the third Oxford Blues Fest I’ve attended, and they are such a great way for someone like me to see what the blues are about, since it is part of the state’s history.”
The festival will wrap up today starting at 1 p.m. at the University Museum outdoor stage. Musicians performing Saturday include The Reviews; Zach Tilotson & Cameran Kimbrough Duo; Silas Reed N’ Da Books; Adam Gussow & Shine Turner; J.J. Callier & the Zydeco Knockouts; Elmore Williams, Hezekiah Earley & Little Pootchie; and Reba Russell Blues Band, with post-concert shows again at Irie and Ajax on the Square. Tickets are $10 advanced online purchase and $15 at the gate.