Time to sing the blues

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, April 12, 2000

U.S. 61 meanders through our area on its way from Memphis to New Orleans. For years along its route, blues singers have carried their tunes as they hitchhiked and caught rides on the freight trains filling the night air with their music.

This weekend the sound of the blues will again fill the air in downtown Natchez as the fifth annual Natchez Bluff Blues Fest takes place.

&uot;This is truly a special event for Natchez,&uot; said Eric Glatzer, producer and creator of the Fest. &uot;The music known as the ‘blues’ is one of Mississippi’s most important resources. It is the foundation of all modern music, because of a specific musical chord now used in Zydeco, country and even rock.

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&uot;And our event has grown steadly at a rate of 25 percent every year,&uot; he said. &uot;This year we have exchange students from Germany coming and a large family reunion group from Ohio. So the word is spreading farther and farther.&uot;

This year’s event will also feature bands from all over, such as Atlanta, New Orleans, Alexandria and of course our own Natchez groups.

Kicking the weekend off will be a musical picnic of &uot;Brown Bag Blues&uot; at noon on Friday. Co-sponsored by the Natchez Downtown Development Association everyone is invited to bring their lunch or their will be bag lunches available for purchase from the Downtown Deli. Then on Friday evening the club performances will begin at participating restaurants and clubs downtown and at Natchez Under-the-Hill.

On Saturday, from 11:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. eight bands will perform on the stage in Memorial park., from gospel, urban blues to Delta blues the music will be a rich blend to please everyone.

&uot;Another reason I think our event is so successful is that we have something for every age group. Memorial Park is especially suited for this type of event. Everyone can just spread out their blankets, families included and enjoy themselves,&uot; said Glatzer. &uot;This year we have a lot of things for kids to do and enjoy.&uot;

There will be a moonwalk sponsored by the Children’s Home, spin art benefitting the CASA program, candy apples from a local Girl Scouts troop and something new year, a box city. The box city is a new fundraiser for the fest. Designed by Kathy Sizemore it will benefit Pleasant Acre Day School.

&uot;Children buy a box for a nominal charge and get to decorate it as a house or business, then it is placed in the city,&uot; said Glatzer.

Also during the performances in Memorial Park there will be food booths open selling regional favorites such as boiled crawfish and red beans and rice. Budweiser and Coca-Cola will have beverages for sale.

Admission to Memorial Park is $5 with children under 12 at $2. There are no pets, coolers or recorders allowed at the Fest.

At 9 p.m. club performance will again begin across the city. From Maggie Brown at Pearl Street Pasta to I.C.U. at the Under-The-Hill-Saloon there will be performers spread out in clubs all over Natchez. Some have a cover charge, however the majority do not require one.

On Sunday morning the weekend will finish up with several restaurants in town hosting blues brunches and then concluding Sunday night with Jambalaya with Julie and Rex at King’s Tavern and hot tamales with I.C.U. at Under-The-Hill-Saloon.