Thursday, June 23, 2011
Annual picnic Friday, Saturday
The annual North Mississippi Hill Country Picnic will be held June 24-25 at Foxfire Ranch, 1465 Old Oxford Road, Waterford.
This year’s festival lineup features Hill Country musicians Kenny Brown, Duwayne Burnside, The North Mississippi Allstars, Duoluco, Jimbo Mathus, Rising Star Fife and Drum Band and many more. The two-day festival takes place in the rolling hills of Marshall County and will run from 4 p.m. on Friday, June 24, until after midnight on Saturday, June 25.
The festival is the brainchild of Potts Camp resident and acclaimed bluesman Kenny Brown, who has witnessed firsthand the worldwide appeal and influence of Hill Country Blues through his long tenure with R.L. Burnside and travels with his own band.
“I got to thinking about how much the music from this area has influenced so many,” Brown said, “and although there are a lot of festivals around, no one was focusing on real Hill Country Blues. Everyone I mentioned it to thought it should be done. So, this will be our sixth year – we’ve got a great lineup, and we hope people will come out to enjoy the music, workshop, food and camping.”
Prior to the festival, a hands-on workshop will be held for interested individuals who want to develop their musical skills and broaden their knowledge of roots music. The workshop, led by instructors Kenny Brown, Luther Dickinson, DuWayne Burnside and Garry Burnside, will be held June 24.
In the mid-’90s, the world discovered the power and distinctive sounds of North Mississippi blues via the recordings of R.L. Burnside, Junior Kimbrough and Otha Turner. These elder statesmen have all since passed, but their music lives on through their contemporaries, family members, and fans and is solidified through the non-profit organization, North MS Hill Country Picnic, Inc. The goal of the organization is to enhance appreciation and educate the general public about the native art form of North Mississippi Hill Country blues music through performance, preservation, and interpretation. The picnic is run by the non-profit and enjoys great support and sponsorship from North Mississippi communities.
The festival annually features artists with close ties to North Mississippi Hill Country blues. The 2011 festival lineup includes all of the major contemporary artists with direct ties to the three men noted above, such as The Kenny Brown Band, Duwayne Burnside, Burnside Exploration, David Kimbrough, The Cedric Burnside Project, and the Rising Star Fife and Drum Band – led by Otha Turner’s granddaughter, Sharde Thomas. Also featured are North Mississippi musicians who have worked closely with Hill Country artists, including T Model Ford, Duff Durrough North MS Allstars (Duoluco), Jimbo Mathus, Robert Belfour, Blue Mountain, Rev. John Wilkins, Eric Deaton, Shannon McNally, Rocket 88, Blue Mother Tupelo, and Tate Moore.
Camping on site is encouraged for out-of-town visitors and will be allowed Thursday-Saturday nights. Coolers are permitted (no glass – ice chests will be checked for glass), and onsite food vendors will sell local favorites including barbecue and fried catfish. Ice vendors will also be on site. Ticket information for the workshop and festival is available on the festival website, www.nmshillcountrypicnic.com.
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