CLARKSDALE, April 4, 2022: Clarksdale, Mississippi, is known around the world for its 365 nights a year of live blues music and over a dozen annual festivals, including this month's 19th annual Juke Joint Festival & Related Events—the historic small-town's biggest blues and business weekend of the year.
"Clarksdale's Juke Joint Festival is like no other event in the world. It's half blues festival, half small-town fair and all about the Delta," said co-founder, Roger Stolle. "We'll have over a hundred performers—amazing musicians from 9 to 95 years old—plus tons of other community happenings. I'm not aware of any other festival in the world that showcases the past, present and future of Mississippi blues more than Juke Joint."
This year's massive music lineup includes GRAMMY honorees like Christone "Kingfish" Ingram, RL Boyce, Kenny Brown, Jimmy "Duck" Holmes and Jimbo Mathus in addition to festival favorites like The Reverend Peyton's Big Damn Band, James "Super Chikan" Johnson, Watermelon Slim, and Duwayne, Garry and Kent Burnside. The full lineup is at jukejointfestival.com.
The festival weekend kicks off on Thursday, April 21st, and includes special events Friday and Sunday. But the main event is Saturday, April 23rd, when Clarksdale hosts 16 free daytime music stages and 21 nighttime wristband venues. Pre-sale Saturday-night Wristbands are available now at jukejointfestival.com. Quantities are limited, and organizers caution that last year was a sellout. Details online.
Other Juke Joint Festival activities include a blues panel discussion, musician workshops, Southern eats, children's fun, street vendors, a student art/writing exhibit, live-streams, racing pigs, monkeys riding dogs and more. Plus, to leverage the return of tourism to the Crossroads, the festival helps to promote numerous other "related events" organized by excited locals. Everything is listed on the official website as well as in the printed program that weekend.
"It's an incredibly positive week for local musicians, businesses and entrepreneurs," said Bubba O'Keefe, executive director of Visit Clarksdale. "It provides an enormous economic boost for our community. From the beginning, the festival's core mission has been to 'put business into our local businesses,' and it does just that. Every hotel room is filled. Every restaurant is busy. Every store owner is smiling."
Of course, it can only happen each year with the support of those who share the vision. 2022 Juke Joint Festival sponsors include Visit Clarksdale, Cathead Vodka, Visit Mississippi, Crossroads Economic Partnership, C Spire, Southern Bancorp and Magdovitz Foundation—in addition to dozens of other supporters and private donors, big and small.
"It's always so humbling to see how many community partners and supporters we have," said Nan Hughes, co-director of the Clarksdale Downtown Development Association nonprofit that organizes the annual event. "We couldn't do any of this without the generosity of our sponsors, the hard work of our volunteers and the enthusiasm of our visitors. We appreciate every single one of them. I always say, 'This is y'all's festival.'"
Find the full festival schedule (including related events), and purchase Saturday-night Pre-sale Wristbands now at jukejointfestival.com. The wristband allows entry into 21 venues for 23 indoor stages and 32 acts. Lineup is subject to updates. Note that online wristband pre-sales end Wednesday, April 20th, and prices go up that Thursday when in-person sales begin at the Juke Joint Festival headquarters (243 Delta Avenue, downtown). Prices increase again on that Saturday. Details on website.
Other free events during the long weekend include Thursday's New Roxy Kick-off with Keith Johnson & Big Muddy Band, Friday's New Roxy concert starring Eden Brent and Sunday's Cat Head Mini Blues Fest—just to name a few.
Need a place to stay? See a full lodging list at visitclarksdale.com, and start calling (since there are always some new openings just before the festival). Like to camp? Check out JJF's downtown RV/camping info at jukejointfestival.com/rv_form.php. Hotel rooms are also available at JJF sponsor Isle of Capri in nearby Lula, isleofcaprilula.com, and be sure to check AirBnB.com and VRBO.com for other new Clarksdale and Coahoma County listings.
Can't make it this year? Book rooms now for next year's festival: April 15, 2023.
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