Juking in the Mississippi Delta - The 2014 Juke Joint Festival in Clarksdale MS
There was dancing in the streets.....music in the air..... pig races....and people from all over the world..... the Juke Joint Festival!!!
Each year, on the second weekend of April, Clarksdale, Mississippi takes on a new life as visitors from all of the country and several foreign countries descend on Clarksdale for the annual Juke Joint Festival. The festival is a celebration of America's music, the Blues... birthed in the Mississippi Delta from the tenant laborers that worked the fields.... songs passed down that were written to pass the time as they worked the fields of the fertile Delta land.
This year was the first time I had ever been to the festival. I had wanted to go in years past but something kept getting in the way that always prevented me from making the short two hour drive over to Clarksdale. I didn't know what I was missing and now, I already have the 2015 dates on my calendar and intend to be there.
Roger Stolle, owner of the Cathead Gallery in Clarkdale is the driving force behind the Juke Joint Festival. He saw a need and an opportunity to promote an area of the country that has definitely seen better days, but now it seems that Clarksdale may have found life again as people begin to buy the old buildings downtown and convert them to condominiums or short term places to stay. Places such as The Shack Up Inn, the Lofts at the Five and Dime and blues venues like Red's Lounge have also been a big influence on bringing people into the area. Add to that the rich history of the Delta Blues Museum and you have the makings for a turnaround.
As a photographer the festival is a haven for photo opportunities. There were quite a few photographers as well as some video people, all with the same intent of documenting the festival. I made a decision to do all of mine in B&W because I thought it allowed the viewer to focus on the intended subject without being distracted by a lot of color, and believe me when I say there were a lot of bright colors - most of it centered on some very eccentric clothing that I saw people walking around in.
Here is a selection of photos I did at the festival. Leave a comment or two and please share using any of the social media buttons above.
Click each image to see larger and use the controls at the right and left of the image to go back and forth.
Keywords: Mississippi, Mississippi Delta, blues, blues music, clarksdale, dancing, holy moly, juke joint festival, masonic, people, photography, piano, pig races, temple
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