Sunflower River Blues and Gospel Festival
06/29/00: The Travel Channel to Visit Clarksdale
     CLARKSDALE - The Travel Channel will be in Clarksdale Friday, Aug. 11, to film the 13th annual Sunflower River Blues Festival, Lisa Gordon, contact chairman for the channel’s production company based in West Palm Beach, Fla., told Nat McMullen, festival co-chairman June 28.

     According to Gordon, film crews will focus on performances by Clarksdale native Big Jack Johnson who is the festival’s Friday night headliner and also Johnnie Billington and the Delta Blues Education students billed as J.B. and the Midnighters.

     Gordon, who telephoned festival officials to secure consent agreements with the artists, estimated the segment would air about two months following the festival.

     Kathy Long, Coahoma County Tourism coordinator, announced also that officials of the Mississippi Department of Tourism including J.C. Burns, economic chief for Gov. Ronnie Musgrove and officials of the State Department of Transportation and the State Department of Archives and History have scheduled a meeting at Clarksdale Station Saturday, Aug. 12, to coincide with the Sunflower River Blues Festival.

     The festival’s popular acoustic stage featuring Eddie Cusic, Pat Thomas, John Mohead and others will be held in Clarksdale Station’s large performance venue Saturday morning.

     “We’re looking forward to the state officials being here for the festival and working with the Coahoma County Tourism Commission to welcome them,” commented Melville Tillis and McMullen, festival co-chairman.

     A free event, the Sunflower River Festival features three days of authentic Mississippi Delta Blues and gospel music and has been hailed as “America’s purist blues festival.” Bobby Rush is one of Saturday night’s headliners. Other Saturday performers include Anson Funderburk and the Rockets with Sam Meyers, Arthur Lee Williams and the House Rockers.

     Other Friday night artists include O.B. Buchana, Robert “Bilbo” Walker and Cedell Davis. Sunday’s gospel festival will feature James Williams and the Victory Travelers, the Myles Family and Patricia Branch, the Clarksdale Elementary School Children’s Choir, the Sensational Voices of Hope, the Sons of Wonder and Calvin Williams and the Spiritual Stars.

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