Published on August 6th, 2021 | by TLV News0
Clarksdale, Mississippi’s Deep Blues Fest: October 2021 Festival Weekend Like No Other on the Planet
After a year and a half of business shutdowns and festival postponements, Clarksdale, Mississippi‘s legendary Deep Blues Fest (DBF) returns October 14–17, 2021, with acts ranging from Alvin Youngblood Hart’s Muscle Theory to Jon Spencer & the HITMakers.
Smaller event this year? Maybe. Bigger experience? Definitely.
Organized by hardcore roots music fans, DBF is an alternative, heavy blues event that’s different from the area’s other more traditional festivals. It’s also as much about experiencing historic Clarksdale as it is the lineup itself. It’s about making friends and building memories that will last a lifetime.
A SPECIAL EDITION FOR 2021
“We may have pared down the venues and music a bit for this year, but don’t let that fool you. We still have an incredible event planned,” said organizer Robin Colonas. “We’re joking that it’s our ‘DIY’ edition, but really, that just means it’s all a little more intimate and personal.”
In addition to Clarksdale’s usual seven-days-a-week of live blues, DBF will deliver an epic lineup inside a very special 2021 main stage venue—the limited capacity, open-air New Roxy (www.newroxy.com).
“The lineup for Deep Blues is always rockin’, and this year’s concentration on the New Roxy as the main festival stage guarantees an unforgettable time,” said local music promoter Roger Stolle. “I always tell visitors that the Roxy just may be the coolest music venue in the South.”
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THE OLD SCHOOL NEW ROXY
This year’s Deep Blues Fest will headquarter itself at the one-of-a-kind New Roxy—the alternatively-renovated historic theater that’s considered a jewel of Clarksdale’s “New World,” last century’s famed African American business district. The ancient marquee sets the stage as you walk into a roofed-and-ready front bar area before peering into the stunning former auditiorium—a huge sweeping concrete space with tall brick walls and plenty of fresh air for safety. After all, today’s roofless New Roxy replaces its lid with blue skies by day, and starry skies by night.
Of course, since Deep Blues Fest (and the other dozen local annual festivals) is as much about experiencing Clarksdale as it is attending an event, DBF will promote and bolster the daily blues music scene all around town during the long weekend.
“Clarksdale is one of the only town’s in the world that offers live blues music 365 days a year,” said Visit Clarksdale tourism director Bubba O’Keefe. “When you couple that with such an exciting event as Deep Blues Fest, it really becomes a bit mind blowing how much there is to do, see and hear.”
And if that’s not enough, the very same DBF weekend, Clarksdale hosts the annual Mississippi Delta Tennessee Williams Festival. (The playwright lived here as a youth and based later characters off of colorful locals.) Info on DBF’s sister festival at www.deltawilliamsfestival.com.
STELLAR LINEUP ROCKS THE BLUES
Deep Blues Festival lights up the New Roxy Thursday–Sunday, October 14–17, 2021 with these headliners:
- Thursday 10/14:- GravelRoad (8 pm)
- Friday 10/15: – Alvin Youngblood Hart’s Muscle Theory (8 pm)
- Jon Spencer & the HITMakers (9 pm)
- Saturday 10/16: Left Lane Cruiser (8 pm)
- Sister Dynamite (9 pm)
- Sunday 10/17: The Wilkins Sisters (daughters of DBF favorite, the late Rev. John Wilkins) (2 pm)
All Festival passes (access to all shows over four days) will be available for general public on August 1 and can be purchased on at www.deepbluesfest.com. Limited quantities of nightly tickets will also available at the door.
In addition to the headlining bands, Knick Knack Records will be hosting a free Saturday showcase from 1–5 pm at the New Roxy—including Ryan Lee Crosby, The Foghorns, and The Maness Brothers.
Plus, there will be related music throughout the downtown area all weekend long at places like Red’s Lounge, Ground Zero Blues Club, Bad Apple Blues Club, Bluesberry Cafe, Hambone, Hooker Grocer, Cat Head, and more. Music calendar: www.cathead.biz. (Separate cover charges may apply.)
BOOK HOTEL ROOMS NOW, Y’ALL
As always, DBF partner Shack Up Inn is ready for bookings at www.shackupinn.com. Plus, check out Clarksdale’s full range of overnight accommodations—from artsy apartments to B&Bs, from a downtown boutique hotel to an award-winning hostel—at www.visitclarksdale.com.
Organizers wish to thank everyone who makes DBF possibly, including major sponsors like Visit Clarksdale and Visit Mississippi.
As festival founder Chris Johnson once noted, “Deep Blues is a life-changing musical pilgrimage.”