The Show Must Go On...
Weeks into the pandemic, our small Delta town of Clarksdale, Mississippi
hosted one of the world's first virtual festivals.
On April 18th, 2020,
10,000+ people watched live, from 32 countries. Within a week, it reached over 200,000.
(Population of Clarksdale, Mississippi: 15,000.)
What made it special?
The Virtual Juke Joint Festival was:
The first of its kind: a single, uninterrupted, live stream (ok, actually we broke FB's 8hr limit, and split the stream into 2) for a large, international festival
The launch for Live From Clarksdale, which keeps the blues alive through the town's tradition of "Live Blues, 7 Nights a Week" every day since Covid came to town
The premiere of Juke Joint Revisited, an award-winning documentary film that closed the festival
A community, and connection between people so powerful, it made grown bluesmen cry
...all in the land where blues began.
The Juke Joint Festival is much-beloved in the community,
and has been an engine of economic development in this often-overlooked area.
As travel was canceled and our town was shut down, the music carried on --
and brought people together.
Read more: Impact
Read international press coverage
of the Virtual Juke Joint here, and the original EPK here.
Clarksdale is known as a birthplace of the blues.
We're the infamous "Crossroads" of highways 61 and 49, where Robert Johnson sold his soul to the devil.
This is the home of Sam Cooke, Ike Turner, John Lee Hooker, Big Jack Johnson. Wade Walton's barbershop is here, on the same spot where W.C. Handy lived. So many legends passed through the historic, Green Book-listed Riverside Hotel, where Bessie Smith died. Alan Lomax recorded here.
Muddy Waters grew up here, and boarded the train from Clarksdale to Chicago -- taking the blues with him, and electrifying it. His log cabin from the Stovall plantation now sits in the Delta Blues Museum. It both preserves our local traditions, and passes them along to the next generation of musicians here.
This is the next generation of music, in action.
Some of them performed in our Virtual Juke Joint, live from Clarksdale: Jacqueline "Jaxx" Nassar, Big A Sherrod, Lee Williams. Pre-pandemic, Big A and Lee taught at the Museum's youth education program.
Christone "Kingfish" Ingram also grew up in the program, playing with Big A at the White House as teenagers, before being nominated for a Grammy; he'll open the 2021 Juke Joint Festival.
Catch the replay:
This is one music festival where you can catch every single act, even afterward.
It's split into 2 videos on the Live From Clarksdale Facebook page:
WATERMELON SLIM | RYAN LEE CROSBY | MISSISSIPPI MARSHALL | STACY MITCHHART
SIDE STREET STEPPERS DUO | GHALIA VOLT | ANTHONY "BIG A" SHERROD
THEO "BOOGIEMAN" DASBACH | DAVID DUNAVENT | LIGHTNIN' MALCOLM | DEAK HARP
EDEN BRENT | JOHNNY RAWLS | JOHN MOHEAD | CARLOS ELLIOT | JIMBO MATHUS
STAN "DEAD END" STREET & LEE WILLIAMS | BLUE MOTHER TUPELO | LUCIOUS SPILLER
GRACE ASKEW | SEAN "BAD" APPLE | JAQUELINE "JAXX" NASSAR
JESSE COTTON STONE | BIG JOHN SHORT | LALA CRAIG | REVEREND PEYTON
For info on how to Tip Tip Tip the Band, click here.
This is the story of how [blog], [links], [go here].
Juke Joint Revisited
Enjoy beautiful and foot-stomping moments from the pre-pandemic 2019 Juke Joint Festival.
Ted Reed Productions' documentary film just in time (amazing!) to close 2020's Virtual Juke Joint:
Performers in order of appearance:
Anthony “Big A” Sherrod, Big Jon Short, Jesse Cotton Stone, Deak Harp, Ghalia Volt, Terry Harmonica Bean, Bill and Shy Perry and Lucy Piper, Marcus Mookie, Big George Brock, Grace Askew, Guy Davis, Libby Rae Watson, Lucious Spiller, Rachelle Coba, Sean Bad Apple, Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band
Juke Joint 2021
The show WILL go on!
This entire festival was free thanks to: