Community gathers for free concert, fun

Published 12:01 am Sunday, May 29, 2011

ERIC SHELTON/THE NATCHEZ DEMOCRAT — Emma Collins sings during the Will Haney Soul Survivors Festival Saturday morning at the Rockabilly Plaza in Ferriday. The day included several performances and fun for children.

VIDALIA — The smell of barbecue, the sight of happy faces and the sound of local music took over Ferriday Saturday when the second annual Will Haney Soul Survivors festival brought residents together to enjoy in the celebration.

“It doesn’t get much better than this,” Ferriday resident Juanita Harris said while watching her daughter Toya slide at the festival. “It’s not every day five bands play a free concert less than a half a mile from your house.”

Harris arrived at Rockabilly Plaza in Ferriday shortly after 11 a.m. and said she was ready to spend the whole day out having fun with her daughter.

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“It has just been a great bonding experience between the two of us,” she said. “I don’t know what could have made this day better.”

Toya danced her way to her mother after her turn on the festival’s inflatable slide and said she wished Ferriday had more than just one Soul Survivors festival each year.

“It’s too much fun to handle with only one event each year,” she said. “I think they need to have it once a month!”

Natchez resident Bruce Truper said hearing some of the area’s most memorable acts really helped him start the weekend off right.

“There is nothing better than hearing people like ‘YZ’ Ealey, Lil Poochie and Hezekiah,” he said. “They really do represent the musical prowess in the area.”

Truper said each concert at the festival was better than the one that preceded it.

“I thought I was going to leave around 1 p.m.,” he said. “But every time I got up to go, the music pulled me back in.”

Truper said the only thing that broke the music’s magical hold over him was the taste of some delicious barbecue.

“Good food may be the only thing that tops good music for me,” he said.

Vidalia resident Billy Samson said while the food and music were great, it was the atmosphere that kept him smiling all day.

“Everyone was just out having a good time,” he said. “With the flood stuff going on for the past three weeks, I think people needed a day like today.”

Samson said Saturday was the first day in two weeks that he has truly relaxed.

“I think that was the same for everyone there,” he said.

“Everyone just felt calm and together.”

With the 2011 Soul Survivors festival in the books, Samson said he is already waiting to hear next year’s lineup.