Rock out with Soul Survivors Saturday

Published 12:02 am Friday, May 25, 2012

On Saturday, from 11 a.m. to 6:30 p.m., the town of Ferriday, will host the third-annual Soul Survivors Festival at Rock-A-Billy Plaza at the corner of First and Texas streets in downtown Ferriday. The event is free to everyone.

Each year Soul Survivors honors Mr. Will Haney and Haney’s Big House juke joint and the musicians associated with Haney’s from the 1940s until 1966, when a fire ended its reign as one of the premiere Juke Joints in the South.

B.B. King was a regular at Haney’s along with Ray Charles, Irma Thomas, Solomon Burke, Bobby “Blue” Bland, Johnnie Taylor, comedians Redd Foxx and Moms Mabley and others.

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We honor past musical successes in Ferriday and want to showcase that music, which was such a dominant force in the development of Rock-A-Billy and Rock and Roll through Jerry Lee Lewis, who was heavily influenced by the music at Haney’s Big House.

Each year we identify and help develop young talent in the Miss-Lou region. This year, Nathan Shell and Hudson Laird will show us what 19-year-olds can do with ambition and a guitar. In addition Julliard-trained musician and teacher Sylvia Johns Richie will showcase her advanced students, followed by the Soul Survivors, themselves.

Hezekiah Early and Elmo Williams will bring their unique blues back to Ferriday. They have entertained at blues festivals around the country and on an Italian Blues Cruise.

Guitarist YZ Ealey, whose name appears on many Mississippi Blues Trail Markers, will also perform. YZ is well known in the area, and has a Blues Trail Marker specifically honoring him and his brother, Theodis Ealey.

Guitarist and Blues performer Lil’ Poochie will be playing and singing at his third Soul Survivors Festival.

Finishing out the festival for the first time, the Angola State Prison Band will perform from about 5 p.m. until approximately 6:15 p.m.

At 6:30 p.m. Mayor Glen McGlothin will preside over a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the new Will Haney’s Big House Music Hall, a $1-million renovation, the result of a grant for which he applied in 2003.

He will also preside over the grand opening of the Jerry Lee Lewis Rock-A-Billy Park and Plaza, the renaming of First Street to Pee Wee Whittaker Avenue, the naming of Will Haney Circle and seven historic markers placed downtown to honor Ferriday’s past and people.

Following the ceremonies at 7 p.m., Easy Eddie and the Party Rockers will take the stage at the new Will Haney’s Big House Music Hall. There is a $3 cover for this event.

At 8 p.m. the Arcade Theater hosts another edition of the Country Music Showcase with a $3 cover.

In addition to the music, there will also be plenty of kids’ activities throughout the day. A jumper and slide will be provided along with sidewalk art, hula hoops and other games.

This event is made possible by sponsorships from the Friends of the Delta Music Museum, Sheriff Randy Maxwell, the Concordia Parish Sheriff’s Office, the Town of Ferriday and a number of local businesses.

Special thanks go to our generous volunteers Rena Pitts, Guylyn Boles and Liz Brooking.

We are grateful to all of our sponsors and volunteers.

For more information, call me at 601-431-6149 or visit the website at


Tommy Polk is the organizer of the Ferriday Soul Survivors Festival.