2021 Sunflower River Blues & Gospel Fest
Exciting plans under way for 33rd Sunflower River Fest
Exciting plans for the 33rd annual Sunflower River Blues and Gospel Festival are under way for August 13-14-15, 2021, promises Melvita Tillis Presley, festival chairman.
"We are especially appreciative of our loyal patrons for their generosity in making it happen; blues and gospel music were born here, and the Sunflower has been committed to keeping it free and open to all since our founding in 1988."
The festival has been cited for its excellence with its own Mississippi Blues Trail marker at the foot of John Lee Hooker Lane; its listing as a Southern Treasure by AAA Travel magazine and its inclusion by USA Weekend among the Top Ten Places in America to hear authentic music.
Patron fund-raising packets containing level of support forms and 8 x 10 color prints of the Sunflower's LIVING BLUES festival edition advertisement were mailed to patrons in the past two weeks, she said.
Presley says responses from numerous top supporters have been immediate while others have verbally pledged their support. Earlier grant deadlines for financial support from the Mississippi Arts Commission and Mississippi Tourism were met, and are now being evaluated.
Explaining how the success of fund-raising determines the lineup up of musicians, bands, and educational components, Presley says the festival is staged almost entirely by volunteers who donate their time and professional expertise for months before August.
However top professional sound and lighting crews and security are contracted for the weekend, and the most essential expenses: musicians and bands paid in cash immediately following their performances and walk off stage.
"For the past several months, our cabinet members and committees have been meeting virtually via ZOOM," explains Presley.
"During the pandemic this has not been perfect but it has worked, and we now are looking forward to meetings taking place safely outside," she adds.