HERNANDO, MS – The Second Annual Front Porch Jubilee and Arts Festival is slated to kick off with a New Orleans-style Mardi Gras Parade at the historic Banks House on Saturday, Sept. 19, followed by scorching hot gospel and cool blues all afternoon and into the night at the Clifton Cotton Gin, adjacent to the old DeSoto County Jail on South Street.
The parade, which begins at 1 p.m., will wind its way to the Clifton Cotton Gin in historic West End where Beale Street-bound blues musicians honed their guitar licks and singing styles before taking the hill country blues form of music to the rest of the world.
In last year’s inaugural event, such performers as legendary Rock N’ Roll pioneer Jerry Lee Lewis and the North Mississippi All-Stars were inducted into the Hill Country Music Hall of Fame.
This year’s Hill Country Music Hall of Fame inductees will include legendary bluesman Mississippi Joe Callicot, Slap Bass King Marcus Van Story, and gospel and pioneering blues musician Rev. Robert Wilkins.
“It’s a unique opportunity for us to honor, not just blues artists but rockabilly artists and artists in the future such as Garrison Star and Lucas Leigh who played last year,” said Steven Pittman, co-founder of the event, along with Amy Chatham and Robert Long.
The Front Porch Jubilee is a benefit for the eventual restoration of the historic Von Theater where many legendary musicians used to play in the 50s, 60s and 70s.
Many of those musicians went on to worldwide fame, according to Pittman, who also serves as president of the Friends of the Von Theater and the founder of the Hill Country Music Hall of Fame.
“This year, we have kept it close to heart,” Pittman said. “Mississippi Joe Callicott of Nesbit, who mentored Kenny Brown, will be inducted, along with Rev. Robert Wilkins who was from Hernando. He and Gus Cannon played in West End and pioneered blues music on Beale Street and some of the earliest recorded blues music. It originated right here in Hernando. Then, we have Marcus Van Story who pioneered the slap base technique and was known as the Slap Bass King.”
One of the biggest features this year in the Front Porch Jubilee Arts and Crafts Festival is the new partnership with the DeSoto Arts Council, according to Pittman.
“This year, we are broadening our canopy to include an arts and crafts festival with the DeSoto Arts Council,” Pittman said. “We think that’s important because it offers a good chance for the entire family to come out to the Banks Home and experience art and music. And we will have all kinds of music — gospel, blues, rockabilly and other genres of music as well. Gospel of course underlies almost all of Southern music, blues, rockabilly and music that is either secular music or godly music. Last year and this year, we wanted to focus on the gospel aspect of our heritage. There will be gospel music at both the Banks House and the main stage.”
Pittman said there are some new developments this year at the Front Porch Jubilee.
“This year, there are a couple of noticeable changes,” Pittman said. “We will allow personal coolers for $20. Children 18 and under will be admitted at no charge.”
For die-hard Ole Miss Rebel fans, there will be a “Mini-Grove” set up at the Jubilee site at the Clifton Gin to televise the Ole Miss/Alabama game.
The Arts and Crafts Festival will be at 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. at the Banks House. Parade line-up will begin at 1 p.m. at the Banks House and a jazz band procession will lead festival-goers to festivities at the Gin around the block.
For ticket prices, parking and other concert information, visit the Front Porch Jubilee web site at www.frontporchjubilee.ms.