Friday, August 21, 2009

This is your two-week warning, the Festival is at hand!

Memphis Music & Heritage Festival Takes Center Stage

Downtown Memphis

Saturday and Sunday, Labor Day Weekend, September 5-6.

Memphis, TN. August 20, 2009. Center for Southern Folklore transforms a two block area of Main Street Labor Day Weekend Street September 5th and 6th for its annual Memphis Music & Heritage Festival. The festival runs from11:00 AM to 11:00 PM each day. The festival is a celebration of what makes the Memphis Delta Region so special…its music, arts and culture, said Center for Southern Folklore Executive Producer Judy Peiser. This 22nd Festival presents the musicians, artists, craftspeople, cooks, talkers, dancers and more who come together each year and show Memphians and tourists alike why Memphis is such a special place. There are five outside stages and two stages inside the Center for Southern Folklore. Best of all, admission to the public is FREE!

At the heart of the festival is the music. From dynamic soul man Bobby Rush to the wild man of rock, Jason D. Williams the Memphis Music and Heritage Festival presents over 400 musical performers who made Memphis the great melting pot of America's musical heritage and keep it cooking today.

The entire festival roster reads like a who’s who of both the traditional and contemporary Memphis music scene including: new South singer/songwriter Kate Campbell, rockabilly legend Sonny Burgess & The Pacers, insightful songstress Amy LaVere, neo-soul from Tonya Dyson & Green Onions, hip hop artist Al Kapone, the dynamic gospel sounds of Darrel Petties & SIP, country legend Eddie Bond, bluegrass jam band Devil Train; jazz-blues diva Joyce Cobb, authentic Delta blues from Blind Mississippi Morris and Brad Webb, jazz and swing with Johnny Yancey and the Sanctuary Jazz Orchestra, jazz-funk-and-fusion artists FreeWorld featuring Herman Green, reggae from Nathaniel Kent and Exodus; urban blues from The Daddy Mack Blues Band, jug band music from The Bluff City Backsliders, youthful jam band Tempeh Four, the energized Millennium Maddness Drill Team, and the list goes on and on.

Each year the Center celebrates the heritage of Memphis Music with the release of its annual Festival Poster and T Shirt (see attachment) designed by Tennessee artist Gray. This year the Center is proud to honor three legendary Memphis saxophone players Fred Ford, Evelyn Young and Sonny Williams who made their marks on Memphis Music and in the hearts of all of us at the Center for Southern Folklore, said Peiser. Throughout the Center’s history these musicians performed, assisted in educational programs and told and retold us stories of Memphis Musical History. These stories are archived in the Center’s Multimedia Archives and in films we produced like All Day & All Night: Memories from Beale Street Musicians. To learn more about the lives and careers of Ford, Young, and Williams, click on Festival Dedication.

The Festival will feature special workshops for aspiring musicians to learn from the masters. Blues/R&B/Rock performer David Bowen will perform a soul music set while talking about the guitar; Randal Morton will demonstrate his mastery of the five-string banjo; musician and noted ethnomusicologist David Evans conducts an impromptu seminar on jug band and blues music. In addition, there will also be two songwriting workshops – a joint venture by musical collaborators Mary Unobsky and Kim Richardson and one by acclaimed New South singer/songwriter Kate Campbell.

A special stage on Peabody Place will feature theatre, dance, drumline, and music for young folks and their families. They’ll be entertained by storytellers from The Voices of the South and musicians such as Joe Murphy’s Dandelion &The Raindrops and the Memphis chapter of Music for Aardvarks performing for younger festival-goers. The Trolley Stop Stage will feature two full days of cooks and chefs talking about making everything from Peach Cobbler to Fried Rice. And they’ll be plenty of time to hear artists and musicians talk about their work in the Heritage Hallway and the Center’s Folklore Store.

New this year will be the opportunity for festival goers to record their voices and music on 19th Century Cylinders. Martin Fisher, Manager of Recorded Media Collections at the Center for Popular Music at Middle Tennessee State University will bring his old fashioned horn along so festivalgoers will have a chance to see how early recordings were first made. Even when he uses modern equipment, there’s nobody more retro than octogenarian Roy Harper who sings old time country tunes from the 1920s and 30s and talks about his long career and the history of real country music. The delightful Hattie Childress will show off the pillows and quilts she’s sewn from Crown Royal liquor bags as well as the homemade chow-chow and pickled peach preserves made from ingredients she grows in her garden.

In addition to shopping for great folk art, books and CDs in the Center’s Folklore Store over 30 artists and craftspeople will be on hand selling their wares. In Heritage Hall Center Archives Staff and volunteers will be on hand to talk about the Center’s newest online exhibit featuring the photography, audio recordings and filmmaking of Rev. L. O. Taylor. Festival goers will have the opportunity to screen and help identify images and hear recordings.

On Saturday September 5th Memphis historian Jimmy Ogle will give three walking tours of Downtown Memphis. Festivalgoers can meet Ogle outside the Center’s Folklore Store for a tour of Union Avenue at 12:00 PM, Beale Street at 2:00 PM and Cotton Row at 4:00 PM. Festivalgoers can make reservations for the tours by emailing or by signing up at the Folklore Store prior to the tours. Space is limited for each tour and reservations are encouraged. A donation of $5.00 per person is requested. The tours are free to FolkPass Holders.

Festivalgoers can purchase a CSF FolkPass. They become a VIP at the Festival and receive numerous benefits at the Festival and throughout the Year. Click here for FolkPass Details.

The Memphis Music & Heritage Festival is produced by the Center for Southern Folklore with generous support for the Tennessee Arts Commission, Arts Memphis, Center City Commission, Memphis Convention & Visitor’s Bureau, SunTrust, Elvis Presley Charitable Foundation, Southern Heritage Charitable Foundation, Blue Moon and MGD 64, The New York Times, How Sweet The Sound, I 55 Productions, Majestic Grille, Circa, Blue Fin, Shelton Clothiers, Arts on a Hot Tin Roof, Peabody Place, Mississippi Mud Coffee, Harkavy Shainberg, St. Blues Guitars, The Memphis Flyer, The Memphis Downtowner, Citadel Broadcasting, WRBO 103.5 Soul Classics, KIX 106, 98.9 KIM FM and many other individuals and businesses.

-0-For More Information, Images and Interviews:

Tim Curry