Sunflower chosen for Year of the Blues

Clarksdale’s 16th annual Sunflower River Blues and Gospel Festival has been selected a special event for the month of August during the Year of the Blues celebration and will be featured on theYear of the Blues Internet web site.

“At the present time, we are planning a web feature (www.yearoftheblues) during August on Clarksdale and Delta blues,” said Ken Viste, Year of the Blues (YOTB) organization coordinator.

   The festival is also being featured in the AAA Automobile Association travel magazine’s July issue, according to AAA travel editor Don Redman.

“The YOTB events of the month have been chosen based upon their quality, significance and applicability over the course of the entire year,” said Viste.

   The Ponderosa Stomp and New Orleans Jazz Festival were featured during April, and the W.C. Handy Awards ceremony in Memphis during May, he continued.

    Festival co-chairman Nat McMullen and Melville Tillis said they were delighted over recognition from both groups.

Festival dates are Aug. 8 and 9 and will include a main stage, two acoustic stages, and a gospel stage.

   A tribute to Muddy Waters featuring former band members Bob Margolin, Hubert Sumlin, Carey Bell, and Calvin “Fuzz” Jones following the Jelly Roll All-Stars with Sam Carr, Arthur Williams, Bob Lohr, Pennsylania Slim, and Calvin “Fuzz” Jones will headline the Saturday night stage.

   Closing out Friday night’s stage will be soulful blues of Latimore following a gig by Clarksdale’s own macho man O.B. Buchana.

   Other top performers booked to play are Honeyboy Edwards, Super Chikan Johnson, John Mohead, Cedell Davis playing with Jimbo Mathus, Willie King, and Big George Brock.

   The Rising Star Fife and Drum Band led by the late Othar Turner’s granddaughter Sharde will continue a 16-year festival tradition by marching in procession from the acoustic stage in Clarksdale Station to the Blues Alley Main Stage.

Headlining the gospel stage will be The Messengers. Other groups include Donald Grant, the Anointed Amanadores, the Rev. Lloyd Johnson, Harvest Time Gospel, True Believer with Lee O. Surrell, Haven United Methodist Church Choir, and The Myles Family.

The 2003 fest is being dedicated to four individuals long associated with the event: Othar Turner, Bernice Turner Pratcher, Muddy Waters, and James Williams.