It’s been called “the world’s biggest little blues festival” and “half blues festival, half small-town fair and all about the Delta.” With everything from 100 music acts to monkeys riding dogs, Clarksdale, Mississippi‘s epic Juke Joint Festival is likely both.
Clarksdale’s 17th annual Juke Joint Festival is Saturday, April 18, with dozens of related events Thursday through Sunday—including blues music, racing pigs, monkeys riding dogs, workshops (songwriting, gardening, storytelling), history bus tours and much more. The massive lineup, pre-sale wristbands and vendor details are at www.jukejointfestival.com.
“For 2020, we’re going all in,” said festival co-founder Roger Stolle. “We’re kicking off the long weekend with a free Thursday performance by Clarksdale’s Grammy-nominated Christone ‘Kingfish’ Ingram. Plus, Friday and Sunday are packed with tons of related events. Saturday, of course, is still the main event with 13 daytime stages, 22 nighttime venues and over 100 blues acts. It’s going to be really a big deal.”
IT’S A BIG DEAL (LITERALLY)
Juke Joint Festival and its related events are also big on affordability. Thursday, April 16th’s Kick-off concert with Kingfish, several Friday educational and music events (including a performance by the Stax Music Academy Alumni Band), all 13 Saturday daytime music stages (plus Saturday’s pig races, monkey-dogs, petting zoo, kids’ zone), and Sunday’s Cat Head Mini Blues Fest are all free of charge. Details on website.
Pre-sale wristbands for the Saturday, April 18 nighttime Juke Joint crawl itself—22 venues with 24 stages and 35 acts—are available now (only $25 each till April 14), exclusively online at jukejointfestival.com. Quantities are limited. Details on website.
Saturday daytime blues acts include Jimmy “Duck” Holmes, Kirk Fletcher, Guy Davis, “Cadillac” John Nolden, Lucious Spiller, Robert Kimbrough Sr., Duwayne Kimbrough, and dozens more. Saturday nighttime acts include James “Super Chikan” Johnson, Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band, Jimbo Mathus, RL Boyce, Eden Brent, Anthony “Big A” Sherrod, and many many more.
“How big is Juke Joint Festival?” event co-organizer Nan Hughes asked rhetorically. “We work on it year around, except for a short break in January when we hold our Clarksdale Film & Music Festival. To me, what makes ‘Juke Joint,’ as locals call it, so special is the diverse mix of events and activities as well as the folks who attend. You’ve never seen so many smiles.”
WANT TO GO (AND SMILE)?
Buy Saturday-night pre-sale wristbands now at jukejointfestival.com. Book a hotel room with Juke Joint Festival sponsor Isle of Capri in nearby Lula via www.isleofcaprilula.com, or search for other lodging at www.visitclarksdale.com. Organizers suggest bringing chairs or blankets. No coolers, though. The festival hopes attendees will support the restaurants and bars in Clarksdale’s revitalized downtown as well as the dozens of street vendors.
For festival schedules, maps, parking details, vendor information and much more, go to jukejointfestival.com.
Thursday, 4/16 – Pick of the Day
Don’t miss the FREE Thursday 5 pm Juke Joint Festival Kickoff with Sean “Bad” Apple, Christone “Kingfish” Ingram and more at the historic New Roxy in downtown Clarksdale, Mississippi, y’all!
Friday, 4/17 – Pick of the Day
After a day of mostly FREE downtown educational and music activities, enjoy Memphis’ amazing Stax Music Academy Alumni Band and more at the New Roxy, starting at 6 pm—it’s a FREE show!
Saturday, 4/18 – Pick of the Day
There are so many amazing events on Saturday, April 18, that we can merely summarize some favorites—including 13 daytime music stages, monkeys-riding-dogs, racing pigs, kids’ stuff, arts & crafts, food vendors, and more. Daytime music is FREE, but Saturday nighttime requires a wristband (click HERE to buy pre-sale). A wristband gets you into over 20 jukin’ venues for over 30 bluesin’ acts! Details on website.
Sunday, 4/19 – Pick of the Day
Wake up Sunday to a FREE Cat Head Mini Blues Fest! Plus, catch more music at Bluesberry Cafe, Ground Zero Blues Club, Levon’s, Hooker Grocer, Red’s Lounge, and beyond. More events TBA.