Fiddler to headline Delta Music

Published 12:00 am Thursday, March 9, 2006

FERRIDAY &8212; The Delta Music Festival is heading down south for its headliner, festival organizer Judith Bingham announced Wednesday.

The Ragin&8217; Cajun Doug Kershaw will be in charge of entertaining what Bingham and her organizers hope will be another big crowd.

Known as one of the great fiddle players around, Kershaw, 70, has been burning up bows since the 1960s.

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He&8217;s made a few fans a long the way, and not just in Cajun country.

Johnny Cash had Kershaw on his television show and later wrote an introductory poem for his album.

Kershaw will arrive in Ferriday to close out the April 1 festival. The day begins with gospel music at 10 a.m. Bingham said she is talking with local church groups to ensure there is a local presence on the stage.

The second act will be the NewBeats, whose &8220;Bread and Butter,&8221; rose to No. 2 on the U.S. charts in 1964. The band, now led by original member Dean Mathis, kept it coming well into the 1960s with Top 40 hits &8220;Break Away (From that Boy),&8221; &8220;Tell Him No,&8221; among others.

Bingham said she hopes this year&8217;s inductee into the Delta Music Hall of Fame, Fats Domino, will be able to make the trip from New Orleans to accept the honor, but she said she wouldn&8217;t know until he got here or not.

She said she didn&8217;t want to sound cagey or lead anyone on, but she just won&8217;t know.

&8220;He&8217;s had some pretty major issues to contend with, with his losing everything in the flood,&8221; she said.

Either way, the day will end on a positive note when Kershaw and his band take the stage.

Set times and ticket information will be released next week, Bingham said, but with the festival just two weeks away, she said radio and print ads are going out soon.

Bingham said Kershaw could help the festival, which drew 5,000 people last year, expand its reach farther south than its traditional Baton Rouge boundary.

&8220;We&8217;re going to advertise down there,&8221; she said. &8220;When I told people we had Doug Kershaw coming, everybody said &8216;Wow.&8217;&8221;