Toes tap at Delta Music Festival

Published 12:19 am Sunday, April 4, 2010

FERRIDAY — Hundreds of people, dozens of booths and lots of loud, toe-tapping regional music greeted anyone who walked into the Delta Music Museum’s annual Delta Music Festival Saturday.

The yearly festival doubles as the induction ceremony for the Delta Music Museum’s Hall of Fame, and this year, Tony Joe White was the honoree.

“I like to talk about Louisiana and Louisiana music, and one of the people I relish talking about is today’s inductee,” Louisiana Secretary of State Jay Dardenne said.

“This is a man who came from small town Louisiana and created a genre of music — swamp music — that has been adopted around the world.”

Handing White a plaque cut in the shape of Louisiana, Dardenne said he hoped it would remind the inductee of where he was from.

“He has made an extraordinarily important contribution to music, and to his home state of Louisiana,” Dardenne said.

White, a native of Oak Grove, most famously performed “Polk Salad Annie,” and wrote “Rainy Night in Georgia” and “Steamy Windows.”

His acceptance speech, delivered just before he sat down with a guitar and harmonica to perform a few songs, was short and to the point.

“Thank you, and thank you all for coming,” White said.

The day started at 10 a.m., and festival-goers wound their way through the Delta Music Museum before heading down Louisiana Avenue to look at booths selling arts and crafts, jewelry, plants and good old-fashioned carnival food — hot dogs, cotton candy, waffle cones and more.

Down the street, jealous teenagers eyed antique cars with cardboard placards in the windshield admonishing them not to touch the vehicles.

This year, the festival also had a number of activities geared toward children, including a climbing wall, inflatable jumpers and pony rides, something Gary Mayes said he appreciated.

“I liked the jumping thing for the kids,” he said. “It was a mighty fine time.”

Festival-goer Trey Green said he, too, had enjoyed himself. “There was a lot of people, good food and good music,” he said.