Sunflower River Blues and Gospel Festival
30th Anniversary
The Delta Blues Museum Band perform on the main stage
(from left) Martin Marsh, Melvita Tillis Presley, co-chair, Hal Pontez, president of HPI, LC; John Sherman, co-chair, Mike Strathdee, and Craig Marsh
Virtuoso guitarist Vasti Jackson
	Paul Wilson receiving the Early Wright Blues Heritage Award...with him John Sherman, Melvita Tillis Presley, Maie Smith, and Catherine Clark
	Bill Luckett welcoming contingent of Italian photographers to the festival at the Grits and Greens dinner Thursday

2016 Sunflower Festival a Huge Success

29th FREE celebration held August 12-13-14 in downtown Clarksdale, Mississippi

CLARKSDALE – A break in triple-digit temperatures with only a few sprinkles welcomed an international crowd enjoying the 29th Sunflower River Blues and Gospel Festival and its four days of exceptional music culminating in a grand finale overflowing the Civic Auditorium Sunday night.

“It's very powerful, emotional,” commented visitors who had never before attended a gospel celebration of such magnitude.

Attending the entire festival were large groups of music fans from Austria, Spain, Italy, Australia, Japan, and many sections of the United States.

On Saturday three cool and separate acoustic stages were packed with music fans cheering master musicians and a unique program featuring Super Chikan Johnson displaying and playing his handmade bejeweled instruments with a running “barnyard” commentary.

Impromptu dancing accompanied almost every event.

Paul Wilson, owner of WROX Radio and Saturday's main stage MC, honored with the Early Wright Blues Heritage Award, was surprised and eloquent with his acceptance speech.

Special patrons honored on stage for their primary support of the festival were Hal Ponte, president of HPI, LLC , and four officials of his company: Martin Marsh, Mike Strathdee, Craig Marsh, and Tom Levitz, all of Houston, Tex.

John Sherman and Melvita Tillis, festival co-chairs, promise the festival's 30th anniversary Aug. 11, 12, 13, 2017, will be spectacular.

Sweet Angel

James "Super Chikan" Johnson, Friday Night Headliner

Sharde Turner and the Rising Star Fife & Drum Band close Saturday's acoustic stage and open the main stage

Lonnie Shields, Saturday Night headliner

Heather Crosse, leader of Heavy Suga & the Sweet Tones

Guitarist Walt Busby, who teaches in the award-winning DBM After-School program, concentrates during the Heavy Suga & Sweet Tones show.

Veteran guitarist Terry 'Big T' Williams on the Saturday night stage

Volunteers man the festival's famous "Grits, Greens, and Barbecue" Thursday night soul food dinner for sponsors

Hal Pontez (right) chairman of HPI, LLC, the festival's primary sponsor, and his crew including Martin Marsh (left) and Mike Strathdee enjoy the Sunflower's informality.

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