The Local Voice

Time For the 7th Annual North Mississippi Hill Country Picnic!


Now in its seventh year, the North Mississippi Hill Country Picnic will be held June 29-30, 2012, hosted by Betty Davis BBQ, at the corner of HWY 7 and HWY 310 (12 miles South of Holly Springs & 15 miles North Of Oxford), in Waterford, Mississippi. (Visit their website for driving directions.)

This year’s festival lineup features Hill Country musicians Kenny Brown, DuWayne Burnside, Jimbo Mathus, Garry Burnside, David Kimbrough, Blue Mountain, 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 4:00 pm on Friday, June 29th until after midnight on Saturday, June 30th.

The festival is the brainchild of Potts Camp resident and acclaimed bluesman Kenny Brown, who has witnessed first-hand 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,” says Brown, “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 seventh 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 guitar 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, Eric Deaton, DuWayne Burnside, and Garry Burnside, will be held June 29th.  Further information is available at for workshop details and ticket purchases.

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 Othar 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 Mississippi 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 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 2012 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, and the Rising Star Fife and Drum Band—led by Othar Turner’s granddaughter, Shardé Thomas.  Also featured are North Mississippi musicians who have worked closely with Hill Country artists, including T-Model Ford, Jimbo Mathus, Robert Belfour, Blue Mountain, Rev. John Wilkins, Eric Deaton, Duff Dorrough, Shannon McNally, Rocket 88, Blue Mother Tupelo, and Tate Moore.

Camping onsite 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 barbeque and fried catfish.  Ice vendors will also be onsite.

Have fun in the North Mississippi hills, y’all!

This article was published in The Local Voice #158 (June 14-28, 2012).


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