Blues musicians to visit Natchez for festival

Published 7:43 pm Friday, March 23, 2007

A stellar lineup of musicians and some new free concerts have blues festival organizer Eric Glatzer excited about the April event.

“These are the top blues musicians working today,” Glatzer said, mentioning particularly Big Bill Morganfield of Chicago.

Morganfield is the son of famous bluesman McKinley Morganfield, better known as Muddy Waters.

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The Natchez Bluff Blues Fest is April 20 through 22, with a new-style concert planned for noon Friday at the Vidalia Riverfront amphitheater as the opening event.

“I went to the Governor’s Conference on Tourism and heard all about how important cooperation is,” Glatzer said.

“I decided one way we can cooperate is to bring Vidalia into the festival.”

The festival continues at 6 p.m. Friday with a crawfish boil at Main Street Marketplace — and another free concert, Glatzer said.

The Friday events continue with the traditional club performances throughout the area.

“Then on Saturday, the gates will open at 11 a.m. at the Rosalie Bicentennial Gardens, and gospel music will begin at 11:30,” Glatzer said. “Alvin Shelby and the Holy Family Choir will be first to perform.”

The blues lineup at the festival site is “the most prestigious talent we’ve ever had,” Glatzer said.

Grants from the Mississippi Arts Commission and the Mississippi Development Authority helped to make the big-name hires possible, said Glatzer, who began the festival in Natchez 12 years ago.

Saturday night, the club performances return.

And Sunday the blues brunches will feature musicians at some of the favorite Miss-Lou eateries.

The Saturday festival at the Rosalie gardens also will include food vendors, crafts and nonprofit agency promotions.

Glatzer said blues music is for everyone.

“It is America’s only authentic music,” he said. “Everyone can relate to the blues.”

He became interested in blues while living in New York City. It was a natural for him to begin a blues festival when he returned to his native Mississippi.

“Blues is a survival music. It says that we all can survive, that the indomitable spirit of man can survive,” Glatzer said.

“In the blues, everyone is the same, and everyone can excel, and that message is what has attracted me to it.”