Sunflower River Blues and Gospel Festival
07/05/18: Amazing hometown talent booked for 31st Sunflower Fest
O.B. Buchana, 'Kingfish,' 'Super Chikan' among 180 to perform

CLARKSDALE – When the Sunflower River Blues and Gospel Festival celebrates its 31st anniversary in downtown Clarksdale August 9 - 12, booking chairman Maie Smith suggests all 180 musicians performing on 8 stages should claim headliner status.

"Our 2018 festival is a showcase of the amazing hometown talent in our area; some - like O.B. Buchana , "Super Chikan" Johnson, and Christone "Kingfish" Ingram are more well-known than others, but all are extraordinary, she continued.

The festival is being dedicated to the late C. V. Veal, longtime festival emcee, and the late Josh "Razorblade" Stewart, a festival favorite for 15 years.

Since 1988 when Living Blues co-founder Jim O'Neal and Patty Johnson organized the first festival on the banks of the Sunflower River, all musicians needed to be Mississippians or claim a close connection, says Melvita Tillis Presley.

"This is appropriate for the hometown of Muddy Waters, Sam Cooke, John Lee Hooker, and Ike Turner," adds Presley whose father played trumpet with Ike Turner and mentored Buchana in his River Mount Lounge.

Presley and Smith agree this background probably contributes to the festival's Blues Trail Marker award and its label by USA Weekend as one of America's Top 10 Places to hear authentic music.

Another requirement in the Sunflower's mission statement: it must remain free and accessible to all. Presley explains fund-raising, grant writing, a VIP tent are a year-long process for Sunflower member/volunteers. They meet each month at the Delta Blues Museum and more often approaching the festival dates.

The festival's VIP tent adjacent to the Main Stage rewards sponsors and patrons with special seating, invitation to a "Grits, Greens, and Barbecue" Thursday night supper and acoustic music featuring Gramm Phillips, Richard "Daddy Rich" Crisman, and Marshall Drew.

Main Stage music Friday, Aug. 10. opens at 6 p.m. Friday with the Delta Blues Museum Student Band followed by Heather Crosse: Heavy Suga and Sweet Tones, Anthony "Big A" Sherrod, James "Super Chikan" Johnson, and Christone "Kingfish" Ingram.

On Saturday six acoustic stages will open in air-conditioned clubs and restaurants: Pat Thomas, Jimmy "Duck" Holmes, Lucious Spiller and Sharde Thomas and the Rising Star & Fife Drum Band at Ground Zero at 12 noon; Deak Harp & Lee Williams, Kenny Brown, and Terry "Harmonica" Bean at Levon Bar and Grill on Sunflower at 2 p.m.

At 2 p.m. Sadie Lamp, Watermelon Slim, and Bill "Howlin' Madd" Perry will perform at the Crossroads Cultural Arts Center, 332 Delta Ave.; Mississippi Marshall, Little Willie Farmer, and Sean "Bad" Apple will open at 3 p.m. at Hattie Jean's on the corner of Third and Delta, and Hambone Gallery on East Second will feature Stan Street, Bill Abel, and Mule Man Massey at 2 p.m.

Red's on Sunflower will present Louis "Gearshifter" Youngblood, Lightnin' Malcolm and The Stone Gas Band starting at 3 p.m.

The Main Stage opens at 6 p.m. with David Dunavant & The EVOL LOVE Band followed by Otis "TCB" Taylor Blues Band at 7 p.m.; Terry "Big T" Williams & The Family Band at 8 p.m. The awards ceremony starts at 8:45 p.m. followed by O.B. Buchana's finale.

The Sunflower Gospel Festival takes place in the Clarksdale Civic Auditorium at 4:30 p.m. Sunday, and its lineup will be announced on the festival website..

For updates and additional information, visit the festival website: www.sunflowerfest.org

The Sunflower River Blues Association is a 501 c 3 non-profit organization; new members and volunteers are invited and encouraged to join.

O.B. Buchana
O.B. Buchana

Christone 'Kingfish' Ingram
Christone 'Kingfish' Ingram

James 'Super Chikan' Johnson
James 'Super Chikan' Johnson




Jun 28, 2020 - 10:00AM
Ezra Szanton
Finally figured out how to upload a video on twitter :D Music - Sunflower River Blues by John Fahey Shader - me :) https://t.co/UZVR2vDK4m
Jun 27, 2020 - 10:16PM
Yousei Suzuki
先日のアズミの部屋来て下さった方ありがとうございました。 演奏ではJohn FaheyのSunflower River Bluesのやりましたが、やっと形になってきました。 お酒も美味しく頂きました。アズミさん、かけてた、友部正人良かったな。
Jun 27, 2020 - 3:24PM
Ezra Szanton
Just made a procedural music video for one of my favorite songs to relax to: Sunflower River Blues by John Fahey. Y… https://t.co/EIdXL5aiUi
Jun 27, 2020 - 2:07PM
Christian B
"Sunflower River Blues" Jack rose #JohnFahey #AmericanPrimitive #Guitar https://t.co/6d1ceqGmh2 via @YouTube
Jun 27, 2020 - 2:01PM
Christian B
Sunflower River Blues (Live 1984) https://t.co/FwzlxNTIzT via @YouTube