The music genre called the blues is an American form of music that has its roots in the Deep South and dates back to as far back as the 1860s. It is also considered the foundation of many other forms of music, including classic rock-and-roll.
Mississippi boasts several great blues artists who were born in the Magnolia State. Many know of B.B. King, but there’s also the likes of Bo Diddley, Howlin’ Wolf, Muddy Waters, and Rufus Thomas who were born in Mississippi. The Mississippi Blues Trail celebrates many of those talented musicians with markers set across the state telling their stories.
Another event that puts a spotlight on the blues has been held in Southaven at the Landers Center the past 20 years and will take the stage again on Saturday, Aug. 19 when the Tri-State Blues Festival is held.
The day-long festival of all things blues this year will feature Tucka, Calvin Richardson, King George, Chick Rodgers, Pokey Bear, J-Wonn, Bobby Rush.
Kim Terrell of DeSoto County Tourism said the Tri-State Blues Festival, now in its 20th year, has established itself as the longest-running blues festival in the area.
“It’s attended well, it is enjoyable and everybody loves the different musicians that are coming in that make it so much fun and it’s really an enjoyable festival,” Terrell said. “It’s a good time for all when people are here for it.”
The Tri-State Blues Festival is well-attended each year and Terrell said festival goers come from all over. The festival also recognizes the history and importance of the area to the blues.
“It honors our blues history and it gives more credibility for our blues markers we have,” she said. “It gives people a chance to check out what we have to offer with our blues markers and blues history.”
And that means the Blues Festival provides a boost to DeSoto County and the Mid-South area with the visitors it attracts.
“It’s well attended every year and we know that because our hotels increase with occupancy and the restaurants are affected by this,” Terrell explained. “We have people come down from Memphis but we also get people from all over the Mid-South area and the Southeast area. People know it by the reputation, come here to enjoy it and then we get the benefit of that by them staying in our hotels and eating in our restaurants.”
It should be noted that many top music legends, even to the Rolling Stones and the Beatles, trace their musical sound from the blues.
“Blues music has certainly been around and is the foundation, the mother sauce, if you will, the foundation of our music,” Terrell said.
More information on the Tri-State Blues Festival and a link to buy tickets are available on the Landers Center website.