Clarksdale, Mississippi (April 15, 2020) — This weekend’s planned Juke Joint Festival in Clarksdale, Mississippi, may be on hiatus till next year due to COVID-19, but fans from around the world can now enjoy a daylong online celebration in its place.
Organizers announced this week that the first-ever Virtual Juke Joint Festival Celebration will stream Saturday, April 18th, via Live From Clarksdale from 12 noon to 9 p.m. CDT. It will be followed by the world-premiere of the new film Juke Joint Festival Revisited at 9 p.m.
“Thanks to our partners at Shared Experiences USA and Ted Reed Productions, we’ve assembled a daylong celebration of our furloughed festival that everyone can enjoy online,” said Nan Hughes, co-organizer of Juke Joint Festival. “With the generous support of our amazing musicians, Visit Mississippi tourism, and others, the Virtual Juke Joint Festival Celebration will be a free event.”
While the 9 hours of live-streamed blues and roots music are free, fans are encouraged to tip musicians through PayPal and Venmo. The filmmakers also invite fans to consider a donation to the Blues Foundation’s COVID-19 Fund and the MS Blues Foundation’s Blues Musician Fund.
“Through the magic of the world wide web, we’ll be streaming live performances from Clarksdale to Columbia, from New Orleans to Nashville,” explained Roger Stolle, Juke Joint Festival co-founder. “Confirmed acts include Reverend Peyton, Johnny Rawls, Jimbo Mathus, Lucious Spiller, Grace Askew, Watermelon Slim and many more who were originally booked to play this year’s Juke Joint Festival.”
The daylong celebration will conclude with the world-premiere of Juke Joint Festival Revisited, created by Grammy- and Emmy-award winning documentary filmmaker Ted Reed and shot at last year’s festival.
The live-streamed portion of the celebration will feature some 27 acts performing at home or in small, no-audience venues thanks to event partner Colleen Buyers, founder of Shared Experiences USA and Live From Clarksdale.
“Following the Virtual Juke Joint party, we’ll continue streaming music Live From Clarksdale all 7 nights a week. During the pandemic, Shared Experiences is coordinating and promoting daily live-streamed musical performances,” said Buyers. “Prior to the crisis, Clarksdale already had 365 nights of live blues. Now, musicians are playing ‘Live From Clarksdale’ to living rooms around the world until the clubs can reopen and everyone can visit Clarksdale again.”
With the support of Visit Clarksdale, Visit Mississippi and the Clarksdale Chamber of Commerce, Live From Clarksdale has just launched to stream daily live performances via its centralized listing. Now, even in the midst of the health crisis, the blues can stay alive in the land where it was born.
Stolle reminds blues fans and tourists to plan now for next year’s April 15-18, 2021, Juke Joint Festival & Related events in downtown Clarksdale — and to Visit Mississippi in-person just as soon as the health crisis is over.