Wednesday, August 22, 2007

The Festival is almost here...


For more information or to schedule an interview, contact:
Susan Jennings, Festival Publicist
901.323.8766 or
Tim Curry, CSF Staff Member
901.525.3655 or

Place: Center For Southern Folklore
Main Street between Peabody Place and Gayoso
Downtown Memphis
DATES: Saturday, September 1, 2007
Sunday, September 2, 2007
TIME: 11:00 a.m. – 11:00 p.m.
FEATURING: Five Stages with:
Over 100 Musical Acts and Dance Troupes
Arts and Crafts by Regional Artists
Expanded Children's Activities
Cooking Demonstrations
Heritage Talkers and Storytellers
ADMISSION: Free to the General Public;

Special Reserved Seating Available

Largest Line Up Scheduled for
2007 Memphis Music and Heritage Festival

Complete Schedule Announced

Memphis, TN, August 22, 2007

On Labor Day weekend, it won't be business as usual as the Center for Southern Folklore transforms a small section of Main Street into the setting for a special celebration of the music, art, crafts, food and heritage of the Mid-South known as The Memphis Music and Heritage Festival. Now in its 20th year, the 2007 festival expands to five stages over two days to showcase both the famous and the not-so-famous who make our region such a special place to live.

The festival runs from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, September 1 and 2, on Main Street between Peabody Place and Gayoso . There are three outside stages and two stages inside the Center for Southern Folklore. Admission to the general public is free. Special reserved seating for one show or all shows can be purchased in advance.

Of course, the heart and soul of this festival is the music and this year's roster definitely delivers the goods. From dynamic soul man Bobby Rush to insightful New South singer/songwriter, Kate Campbell, to legendary gospel singer, Roscoe Robinson, the Memphis Music and Heritage Festival (MMHF) presents over 300 musical performers who made Memphis the great melting pot of America's musical heritage and keep it cooking today.

About Bobby Rush

Bobby Rush (born November 10, 1940) is an American blues and R and B musician, composer and singer. He was born Emmit Ellis Jr. in Homer, Louisiana. His family relocated to Chicago in 1953, where he became part of the local blues scene. In the early 1980s he moved to Jackson, Mississippi, where he recorded a series of records for the LaJam label, Malaco's Waldoxy imprint, and more recently his own Deep Rush label. He is a purveyor of the soul blues sound. He sometimes also uses elements from rap and funk. 2004's "Folk Funk" was a return to a more rootsier sound and came out on his own Deep Rush label. He is prominently featured in the film "The Road To Memphis" which was part of the PBS series The Blues, produced by Martin Scorsese.

About Kate Campbell

The songs of Kate Campbell chronicle a world that's distant from the main highways, out of the range of all-hit radio where a simple roadside sign like "Jesus and Tomatoes Coming Soon" can inspire an entire song. Her tales of life in The New South touch upon race; religion, history and the everyday heroics of ordinary people, all filtered through her wry Southern sensibilities. Growing up in a family of musicians exposed Kate to a wide variety of folk, blues, country and gospel tunes. This musical foundation serves her lyrics well, rooted as they are in the rich Southern storytelling tradition.

About Roscoe Robinson

The Center for Southern Folklore is especially proud to announce the addition of The Legendary Roscoe Robinson to our roster of outstanding gospel performers. Robinson's career began several decades ago when gospel music was mostly heard in small urban and country churches, before it became the international phenomena it is today. He sang alongside Sam Cooke, cut sessions with Chess Records' A-list writers and performers, and has produced, written, and still performs with the Grammy Award winning Blind Boys of Alabama when scheduling permits. For his many achievements, Robinson has been inducted into the American Gospel Quartet Hall of Fame and the Birmingham Record Collectors Hall of Fame

The entire festival roster reads like a who's who of both the traditional and contemporary Memphis music scene. There's the wild man of rock, Jason D. Williams, harmonica wizard Billy Gibson with guitarist David Bowen, rockabilly artist turned bluesman, Billy Lee Riley, the modern gospel sounds of Darrell Petties and SIP , iconic rocker/producer Jim Dickinson, urban blues artists The Daddy Mack Blues Band, country legend Eddie Bond, jazz-blues diva Joyce Cobb, authentic Delta blues from Blind Mississippi Morris , New Orleans funk sensation Big Sam's Funky Nation, traditional gospel with the Brown Singers and Spirit of Memphis, rockabilly legend Sonny Burgess, the Latin jazz of Symbiosis, the big band jazz of the Orange Mound Jazz Messengers and much, much more.

See attached schedule listing the times for the two day event.

Like its predecessors, this 20th edition of the festival is presented free to the general public by the Center for Southern Folklore thanks to the generosity of our sponsors: Verizon Wireless; Tennessee Arts Commission; Peabody Place Retail and Entertainment Center; Memphis Music Commission; Elvis Presley Charitable Foundation; Audrey Gonzalez; Memphis Convention and Visitors Bureau; Yazoo Brewing Company; SunTrust; Center City Commission; SonicBids; Residence Inn by Marriot; Talbot Heirs Guesthouse; Joe Spake, Crye-Leike Realtors; Majestic Grill; Shelton Clothiers; Wang's China Bistro; Flying Fish; Flying Saucer; Sauces; Swig; Main Street Flats; The Cornerstone; Blues City Pastry Shop and Coffee Bar; Davis Kidd Booksellers; Railcom; Soul Classics 103.5; KIX 106; 98.1 The Max; Kim 98.9; The Downtowner, The Memphis Flyer, and

While the roster of over 300 bluegrass, soul, jazz, gospel, rock, folk, blues, country, reggae, rockabilly, funk, Klezmer, rhythm and blues, and Latin musicians will be a major focus for the festival, it's not the only one. "Music is the force that shapes this region. The Memphis Music and Heritage Festival provides over 2 days for people to be entertained and educated about this region's rich musical heritage," said Judy Peiser, executive director of the Center for Southern Folklore. "But we also present the artists, cooks, dancers and talkers whose food and stories and crafts reflect the Memphis/Mid-South Region."

"Our family first came to this festival to introduce our children to the blues and other musical styles, but they seemed to really love talking with the craftspeople," said Steve Brown, whose family moved to Memphis several years ago. "My wife and I were really surprised at how much our children learned and enjoyed. We've come back every year."

"There's something for everyone at this year's festival," said Peiser. "If you love traditional folk art, you'll meet artists and craftspeople. If you're into dance, you'll enjoy Choctaw dancers, Chinese dancers, square dancers, African drumming and African-American drum lines. Our expanded children's area will present a delightful collection of puppeteers, storytellers and musicians performing for younger festival-goers."

"If you want to learn about Southern culinary traditions, cooks will share their secrets. In fact, the cooking demonstrations are some of the most popular shows year after year," said Peiser. "It's an opportunity for people to learn about their past from cooks who demonstrate foodways lost with micro-waved pre-packaged, heat-and-serve meals."

Cooking demonstrations will feature, among others: Center Chef Ella Kizzie preparing her famous peach cobbler, hot water cornbread and greens, Claudia Thomas preparing Choctaw fry bread, and Charles Gammon demonstrating how to make fried pies the way his mother, Mamie Gammon, taught him.

Special Seating Available
Because seating is limited, the Center is offering two types of reserved seats. For a $50 donation, festival goers can become a "Friend of the Festival " and receive preferred seating for every performance at every stage during the two-day Festival. Festival goers can also reserve one seat at any single performance for a $20 donation.

Friends of the Festival tickets are available at the Center for Southern Folklore Store, 123 S. Main in downtown Memphis (901.525.3655), and the Davis-Kidd Bookstore at 397 Perkins Ext. in the Laurelwood Shopping Center ( 901.683.9801), or on the festival web site Friends of the Festival tickets provide revenue necessary not only for the Center for Southern Folklore to operate and keep the festival free to the general public, but also to support the Center's mission to preserve, defend, and protect the music, culture, arts and rhythms of the South.

Songwriters Workshop
Songwriters and musicians will want to attend the Songwriters Workshop on Saturday, September 1, at 2 PM. Renowned and respected singer/songwriter, Kate Campbell will share the secrets of her craft with a small group. Whether you're an established or aspiring songwriter, the workshop provides an opportunity to learn about the creative process from one of the best.

Participation in the Kate Campbell Songwriters Workshop is $15. Enrollment is limited. To reserve your spot, contact or call Lindy Wilson at 901-525-3655. For an extra $15, workshop attendees will receive special preferred seating for Kate's MMHF performance on Sunday. This is a savings of $5 off the Friends of the Festival preferred seating.

About Mose Vinson
This year's festival is dedicated to the memory of long-time performer – and dear friend of the Center – Mose Vinson. In his honor, Mose is featured prominently on the 2007 festival poster by the outstanding regional artist simply known as Gray. In addition, the Center-produced CD, Mose Vinson: Piano Man, is being re-issued for this occasion.

Mose Vinson grew up playing piano in his church in Holly Springs, Mississippi, and began playing jazz and blues in his teens. He moved to Memphis in 1932 where he played local juke houses through the 30's and 40's. Sam Phillips, legendary Sun Records producer, hired Vinson in the 1950's to accompany a number of blues artists on their recordings most notably, James Cotton.

Though he eventually recorded some of his own tracks for Phillips, he was never able to release his own record for Sun. For the next three decades, Mose performed in various Memphis clubs and churches appearing sporadically. In the early 80's the Center for Southern Folklore hired Mose to perform at its 1982 Memphis Music and Heritage Festival and at many subsequent events. It was at his regular performances at the Center that Vinson taught hundreds of school children and adults to play blues and boogie woogie. Some of the performers he "taught" were Mike Stoller, Marsha Ball and Cybill Shepherd.

Mose Vinson, a Memphis piano institution for more than half a century, died in Memphis on November 30, 2002. To honor this special friend, The Center for Southern Folklore is raising funds to purchase a headstone for Vinson. "This is important not only for Mose but also for future generations who will read about Mose and hear his recordings," added Peiser. "They will know that he was respected and admired during his life and times, and not just another forgotten bluesmen of the Mid-South."

More Information
To purchase Friends of the Festival tickets, a festival poster featuring Mose Vinson, the recently re-issued Mose Vinson: Piano Man CD, or make a donation to the Vinson Memorial Fund, please call the Center for Southern Folklore at 901-525-3655 or go to and click on Shop.

Memphis Music and Heritage Festival
Labor Day Weekend -- Saturday and Sunday,

September 1 and 2, 2007 - 11AM to 11PM
Downtown Memphis – Main at Peabody Place
Presented by the Center for Southern Folklore