By The Associated Press
CLARKSDALE, Miss. (AP) — Former Led Zeppelin frontman Robert Plant will be among the headliners for the Sunflower River Blues and Gospel Festival, which marks its 25th anniversary this year with a tribute to its hometown music legends.
“This is spectacular news,” said Melville Tillis, longtime festival co-chairman. “We have been in dialogue with Robert Plant for several months, and are thrilled he will be here.”
The festival will be held Aug. 10-12 in Clarksdale and will feature more than 40 bands over the course of the three-day event.
Plant, a blues historian, who recorded “Walking Into Clarksdale” with Jimmy Page in 1999, has visited Clarksdale numerous times, and personally funded Mississippi Heritage Blues Trail Marker unveiled on Thanksgiving Eve 2009 honoring Tutwiler as the Birthplace of Blues. He also presented the Delta Blues Museum with a custom-designed plaque composed of miniature Led Zeppelin album covers and an engraved tribute to Delta blues musicians who influenced the famous rock band.
Performing on stage with Plant will be Grammy-winning vocalist Patty Griffin, West African virtuoso musician Juldeh Camara, guitarists Justin Adams and Bill Fuller, keyboardist John Baggott and drummer Dave Smith.
He will join multiple Grammy-nominated artist Charlie Musselwhite and blues great Bobby Rush, both of whom have headlined the festival several times.
Not only were Clarksdale and Coahoma County the home of early bluesmen W. C. Handy, Son House, Robert Johnson, and Charley Patton, it was the stomping grounds of Muddy Waters, Sonny Boy Williamson, Sam Cooke, John Lee Hooker, Ike and Tina Turner, Big Jack Johnson, and dozens more. The first Sunflower River Blues and Gospel Festival was held in 1988. Headlining the first festival were Otis Rush and Son Thomas.
Staged entirely by volunteers, the festival has been free and open to the public since it was established
For updates, visit the festival website: www.sunflowerfest.org