Double Decker Festival

Published on April 27th, 2023 | by Nature Humphries


Double Decker Festival 2023: 26 Years of Art and Music in Oxford, Mississippi

Celebrating food, music, and the arts

Oxford, Mississippi is celebrating the 26th annual award-winning Double Decker Arts Festival on April 28 and 29. The red double-decker bus, imported from England in 1994, serves as the inspiration and centerpiece of the two-day celebration that takes place on the historic Courthouse Square. Now the recipient of more than 25 awards, Double Decker brings in over 75,000 attendees for a weekend celebrating food, music, and the arts.

Beginning with the 2015 event, each year a local artist is selected from multiple submissions to be featured as the festival’s official art, which is printed on the festival t-shirts, posters, and light pole banners that are displayed around the downtown square. This year’s featured artist is Blake Gore.

Gore grew up in North Mississippi and attended school at the University of Mississippi. Before he embarked upon his art career, Gore worked as a career coach and instructor for universities. It was during his time at Vanderbilt University that Gore began drawing miniature artwork using a .15mm pen and received a great response from the public.

Although Gore hasn’t considered himself an artist very long, he first exhibited at the Double Decker Arts Festival in 2019. Since that time, Gore has grown his business to 20–30 shows per year across the country, but still considers Double Decker his favorite.

A Southern showcase: from tempting tasty bites to inspiring one-of-a-kind art

Like any respected Southern tradition, the festival has grown while preserving its original integrity and charm. Food vendors offer tried and true Southern sensations, from snow cones to freshly fried fish to pizza by the slice, all from local vendors—many offering a specialty item that can only be found during the event.

Juried by a panel of local artists, the artist showcase brings more than 140 arts vendors to the event, spanning a variety of media including drawings, glass, jewelry, mixed media, painting, photography, print-making and sculpture. The art vendor showcase is only on Saturday, but the Oxford Artist Guild will be set up on Friday in the Boles Wiley Alley on the Square for a preview.

On Saturday, April 29, The Graduate Oxford Kid Zone will be located in the Lafayette County Chancery Building parking lot from 10 am–6 pm. Local bespoke denim outfitter Blue Delta Jeans Company will host their Blue Delta Blues Alley in the alley beside The Lyric from noon–4 pm. This year featured artists will include Mac & Lucy, Joe Austin & The Tallahatchies, Honey Island Swamp Band, and Mr. Sipp.

Tune in for the Spring’s premier music lineup on April 28 and April 29

The weekend kicks off with music on Friday, April 28 at 6:15 pm with The Stews. After releasing their debut album What Was in April of 2022, The Stews have been a non-stop touring machine, with sellout crowds from Nashville to New York, Charleston to Dallas, and several in between. At 7:45 pm, Mississippi natives and America’s Got Talent contestants Chapel Hart take the stage. Consisting of sisters Danica and Devynn Hart along with cousin Trea Swindle, the trio went from singing together as children to a world-class group whose colorful and contagious energy has flourished into a full live band experience that fills venues around the country. The final performance for Friday night is country superstar Ashley McBryde. Raised in Arkansas, McBryde moved to Nashville in 2007 where she played a healthy dose of dive bars, biker hangouts, and colorful joints where she fought to have her songs heard. In 2016, her self-released EP, Jalopies and Expensive Guitars, was just a taste of what McBryde can do. She has six Grammy nominations, two Country Music Association awards, and three Academy of Country Music awards, and she was inducted into the Grand Ole Opry on December 10, 2022.

On Saturday, April 29, The Mississippians Jazz Ensemble will kick off the music on the main stage at 11 am. Made up of undergraduate and graduate students at the University of Mississippi, this 18-piece big band is under the direction of Dr. Michael Worthy. The jazz ensemble is one of the oldest in the nation and celebrated 100 years in 2022. The band recently went on a tour of France and Italy and will return this summer to Europe for performances at jazz festivals in France and Spain. Malian singer and guitarist Vieux Farka Touré will take the stage at 12:30 pm. Often referred to as the “the Hendrix of the Sahara,” Touré’s third studio album, The Secret, featured artists such as Dave Matthews, Derek Trucks, and John Scofield, along with the last collaboration with his famous musician father, Ali Farka Touré and reached the No. 1 spot on CMJ’s New World chart. At 2 pm, Memphis-based soul band Sensational Barnes Brothers take the stage. The duo is a melting pot of old and new with their gospel soul, reflecting on the music of their history while drawing in a modern-day audience. Their 2019 album, Nobody’s Fault But My Own features songs chosen from the 1970 catalog of Designer Records label. At 3:30 pm, Southern Avenue, a five-piece blues and soul band hailing from Memphis, takes the stage. Less than a year after their initial formation, the band was signed to famed Stax Records in 2016 and their debut self-titled album reached No. 1 on iTunes’ Top Blues Albums in 2018. In 2019, their album Keep On debuted among the top 5 on Billboard’s Top Blues Albums and earned them their first Grammy nomination.

Going into the night portion of the acts, midwestern singer-songwriter Lissie takes the stage at 5 pm. Lissie released her new Americana indie folk album Carving Canyons in September 2022. At 6:30 pm, Georgia natives and Americana/rock country band Blackberry Smoke take the stage. Their latest album, You Hear Georgia, debuted as No. 1 on the Billboard Americana/Folk Chart in 2021.

The final performance of the evening is Grammy-nominated artist, performer, and songwriter, Marcus King. King, who grew up in Greenville, South Carolina, began playing guitar at age eight and took an academic approach by studying guitar greats such as The Allman Brothers, B.B. King, Waylon Jennings, and Merle Haggard. His debut solo album, El Dorado, was released in 2020 and earned him a nomination for Best Americana Album at the 63rd Annual Grammy Awards.

The festival’s 2023 Presenting Sponsor is The University of Mississippi Museum gifted by Ole Miss Athletics. Nicholas Air is the stage sponsor and Faulkner Sponsors include Specialty Orthopedic Group and NE Sparc

Friday, April 28, 2023

6:15 pm THE STEWS

Saturday, April 29, 2023



B&E BBQ &More
Fergndan’s Wood Fired Pizza
Sno Biz
Taylor Grocery Catering
Sunday’s Best Express
Moe’s Original BBQ
Chicken Salad Chick
The Oxford Creamery
Domino’s Pizza
The Grille @ Ole Miss Golf Course
The Tea, LLC
King’s Steakhouse
Partees Sno & Mo
Living Foods
Chick Fil A
Walk On’s
Blind Pig
Top Notch Concession Company

Blackberry Smoke
Ashley McBride
Chapel Hart
Marcus King
Sensational Barnes Brothers
Southern Avenue
Vieux Farka Toure

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