Sunflower River Blues and Gospel Festival
06/13/01: Benefit A Success!
CLARKSDALE, Miss. - Nearly 600 music fans cheered the rhythms of first-class entertainers - from the fledgling Pure Blues Express youngsters to super showman Bobby Rush and his Las Vegas Revue - at the Sunflower River Blues Association’s first benefit concert April 6. For photos Click Here!

   "It was a great crowd and lots of good music," said Nat McMullen, association co-chairman. "It was a wonderful show."

Echoing his sentiments, Catherine Clark, association treasurer said, "People had a great time; they were dancing and having fun."

   She said one blues fan from the Philadelphia area drove almost four hours just to see O.B. Buchana perform.

    Co-chairman Melville Tillis added, "We want to thank everybody who participated and helped, and we especially want to thank the bands who performed."

He added continued donations will be appreciated.

   McMullen and Clark estimated the crowd size at the Coahoma County Expo Center between 500 and 600 with Tillis counting the audience over 600.

   Midway during the concert the performers were called on stage and presented certificates of appreciation by the association's slate of officers. Also recognized was Ella Wright, widow of Clarksdale’s legendary radio personality Early Wright, patriarch of the blues association.

    Opening the show were three young musicians - Venessia Young, Fazenda Young and Lee Williams - who perform as the Pure Blues Express. Their set was followed by Miss Brown Sugar of Memphis, who appeared at the 200 Sunflower fest.

   To the delight of their fans who approach cult status, O.B. Buchana and Bobby Rush with their brilliantly clad dancers and personal charisma turned energy levels up multiple levels.

   Staffed entirely by volunteers, the benefit was held to raise funds for the Aug. 10-11 festival which is a free event.

   Approximately 20,000 attended the 2000 festival, said co-chairman Tillis and McMullen.

    According to figures from the Coahoma County Tourism Commission, receipts from tourism tax collections during the August 2000 festival month soared to $28,242, a 36 percent jump from July’s figure of $20,821.21.

For photos Click Here!

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