Balloon festival should be for all

Published 12:11am Sunday, July 7, 2013

On Wednesday, June 26, there was an article on Page 1C, Style of The Natchez Democrat, “High Flying Line Up for the Annual Balloon Race.”

When reading who the bands are, I found not one southern soul or R&B band. Well now, there it is again. This year just as in the past years — no black music acts — a clear view of discrimination to keep black people away from coming to the festival. When do the divisions stop in the way the balloon festival board members leave the black concertgoer out. People come together through music.

When in the 1970s, the Woodstock festival had both black and white bands all on one stage. That festival helped break down the racism in our country. But now only in the south of Mississippi, there is a music festival that is just based around only a certain race of people. What about the younger generation of white kids who is not living with the old mind set by their forebearers? White people like black music as well. The sponsors of the balloon race need to step up and say something about this issue.

Black people put their money in the banks that are sponsors of the balloon race. Black people go and spend their money at the casino and hotels and white businesses that are sponsors of the balloon race. But yet the balloon race is built around country and rock and roll music.

It would be much easier for you all to just go public and say, “Black people we do not want you all at the festival.” — unless you want them to help unload band equipment and help set up the festival band stage and food and drink table. The Sibley Zydeco Festival brought in 85 percent revenue from people getting rooms and spending money at local businesses, including the gaming and hotels. But not one of these businesses will sponsor the Sibley Zydeco Festival.

The Zydeco Festival is not a black thing. It is a festival for all races of people. There were many white concertgoers at this year’s Zydeco Festival. If black people would stop going to the casino and stop shopping at white businesses, they all would go out of business. It is not the 1950s anymore. This is racism in Natchez. It is time to let that old stuff go. And let’s live in a new time. And one way of bringing people together in harmony is through music. Balloon organizers, it is time for you get a new mindset of doing things. It is time for you to bring people of all races together, not by bringing division between the people.

 

Clarence Anderson

Natchez resident