High flying music: Music acts will add to weekend excitment

Published 12:01 am Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Submitted photo — Country music artist Pat Green will perform at this year's Great Mississippi River Balloon Race.

When the gates open for this year’s Great Mississippi Balloon Race, music won’t be playing second fiddle.

This year’s event on the grounds of Rosalie Bicentennial Gardens, on Broadway Street in downtown Natchez will feature nine different shows with music ranging from country and rock to soulful and blues.

Balloon Race Executive Director Babs Price is excited about this year’s lineup and said the entire committee has worked extremely hard to make it enjoyable for everyone.

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The Great Mississippi Balloon Race kicks off at 7 p.m., Oct. 19,with the balloon glow and a fireworks show at 7:30 p.m. Beginning at 8 p.m., Beatles tribute band The Walrus takes the stage until 10 p.m.

Saturday the fun gets started with the balloon competition flight at 7:30 a.m., weather permitting, with festival gates open at 11 a.m.

Local artists Lil Poochie & Hezekiah Early take the stage at noon. Robert Lee “Lil Poochie” Watson and Early have played together from the mid-1980s. They recently performed at the Juke Joint Festival in Clarksdale.

New Orleans indie rock band The Revivalists will follow at 1:45 p.m. At 3:30 p.m., fellow New Orleans band, Johnny Sketch and the Dirty Notes take the stage.

“I can’t wait to hear The Revivalists,” Price said. “They were one of the most requested bands this year.”

Weather permitting, the sponsored balloon flight and key grab will start at 4:30 p.m. Pilots will attempt to snatch a key from the top of a 50-foot pole in an effort to win a new truck from Great River Chevrolet-GMC.

At 5:30 p.m., the Lowrider Band takes the stage. The seven-piece, R&B band is known for hits like “Low Rider” and “Why Can’t We Be Friends.”

As the sun goes down Saturday night, the music won’t stop.

Hard picking guitarist Anders Osborne takes the stage at 7:30 p.m. Osborne has appeared at The New Orleans Jazz Fest & Heritage Festival, Bonnaroo and The Hollowbaloo Music & Arts Festival in Honolulu.

The North Mississippi Allstars finish off the night beginning at 9:30 p.m. The blues-rock band is made up of Luther Dickinson, brother Cody Dickinson and Chris Chew.

“We’ve had The North Mississippi Allstars before,” Price said. “It was one of the best shows we’ve had.”

Sunday begins with the competition balloon flight at 7:30 a.m., weather permitting. The fairground gates open at noon.

The Concordia Parish Gifted Music Program, a musical group made up of 42 students from around the parish, will perform at 1 p.m.

Program music teacher Sylvia Ritchie said the group consists of drummers and trumpet players to guitarists, pianists and vocalists.

“They will play everything from Carrie Underwood to ‘Sweet Home Alabama,’” Ritchie said. “We are going to try to keep everything up tempo.”

Country artist Benton Blount performs at 2:45 p.m.

The Sunday country headliner is Grammy-nominated country singer/songwriter Pat Green at 4:30 p.m.

This will be the first time the Texas native has performed in Natchez. His most recent album “Songs We Wish We’d Written II” was released in May.

“Everybody is so excited about Pat Green,” Price said.

Advanced tickets may be purchased at the Natchez Visitor Reception Center or at www.visitnatchez.org. Tickets may also be purchased at the gate.

Prices for adults 13 and up are $5 for Friday, $20 for Saturday and $15 for Sunday. A weekend pass is $30.

For children 7 to 12, admission is $3 for Friday, $5 for Saturday and Sunday. A weekend pass is $10.

Admission is free for children 6 and under.