Published on June 23rd, 2021 | by Nature Humphries0
North Mississippi Hill Country Picnic Artist Q&A: Alvin Youngblood Hart
The 2021 North Mississippi Hill Country Picnic is just around the corner. Mark your calendars for June 25–26, and get your camping gear ready for a hot weekend of music, family, and Mississippi-flavored shenanigans just a short drive north of Oxford in Waterford, Mississippi at the Betty Davis Ponderosa. Tickets are $25 per day, with a $15 camping fee and a $10 cooler fee, available at the gate the day of the Picnic (CASH ONLY; online sales ended June 15).
What makes it stand out compared to other music festivals?
The artists, performers, and the audience are all there for the common goal of representing the music and the predecessors who inspired the whole thing. Everybody’s there as one. That’s the big thing and you really feel it, too, when you’re out there. It’s not hard to become a part of the Picnic crowd. Us, as performers, we’re not just there playing a gig and then leaving, you know. We’re out there running around with the crowd and stuff too. We kind of refer to it as a big family and that’s how it is.
How many picnics have you performed?
I think I’ve played at every one except two. I missed the first one. And I missed the time it was at Foxfire. But I think I’ve been at all except two.
Describe your style – what can picnic attendees expect from your set this year?
Hopefully some fun songs. We always try to pay some tribute to our Mississippi roots. We don’t have a lot of rules to it [Hill Country Blues]
Do you have any upcoming projects or shows? How can fans learn more about you?
I was talking about trying to make a new record, in the early part of 2020. But that kind of got shut down, so hopefully will be ready to pick that idea up and run with it again soon. We’ve been trying to get our heads right after a lost year. It’s almost like—did that really happen?
Would you share a favorite memory from picnics past?
One significant happening was actually, you know we have people come in from all over. People from Europe, from the upper Midwest and all that stuff. I know for a fact that some of us have recruited people from Louisiana to come up and join the picnic family, which was kind of a big deal. One of the more popular radio stations, WWOZ in New Orleans, decided to broadcast the picnic, and that was a big thing. And obviously they’re streaming all over the world, BOOM the picnic goes worldwide.
What are your current favorite jams?
There was a friend of mine that had a saying, “Alvin hasn’t heard a record since 1972.” Pretty much that. I still listen to a lot of old music, John Lee Hooker, and stuff like that. All the old classics.