Chronology of the Past 28 Years


Since it's creation in 1988, the Sunflower Festival has been entertaining blues fans for the past 28 years.

Throughout the years there have been numerous high profile headliners and entertainers such as Ike Turner, Dorothy Moore, Robert Plant and for this years 29th annual festival, Super Chikan, Lonnie Shields, Toni Green and Sweet Angel.

The Delta Blues Museum has partnered with the Sunflower Festival for many years with coordinating various performances, booths and special promotions.

***We would love to hear from you and share the great times you have had at the Sunflower River Blues & Gospel Festival. Please email any comments and photos you would like to share with us to sunflower@deltabluesmuseum.org.***



Sunflower Festival Chronology

Photos left to right: Jimbo Mathus; Nighttime crowd, main stage on right; Buffet line for 'Grits, Greens, & Barbecue' VIP supper; Bobby Rush
Photos Credit: Panny Flautt Mayfield



2016 - 29th Annual Festival
August 12th, 13th and 14th
Headliners - Super Chikan and Lonnie Shields


This year's festival will feature Super Chikan, Lonnie Shields, Toni Green and Sweet Angel as headliners.

Performances will include Jimbo Mathus, Vasti Jackson, gospel legend Lee Williams, and many more.

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2015 - 28th Annual Festival
August 7th, 8th and 9th
Headliners - William Bell and Rita Engedalen


This year's festival will feature Classic "soul" pioneer William Bell, and Norwegian "Blues Queen" Rita Engedalen as headliners.

Performances will include Leo "Bud" Welch, Sweet Angel, Sharde Turner, Jimmy "Duck" Holmes, James "Super Chikan" Johnson, Lusicous Spiller, Terry "Big T" Williams & The Family Band, and many more.

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2014 - 27th Annual Festival
August 8th, 9th and 10th
Tribute - Big Jack Johnson


This year's festival is dedicated to the legacy of Big Jack Johnson, one of Clarksdale's most extraordinary musician and songwriters since the days of Robert Johnson, Charley Patton, and Muddy Waters.

Performances will include Latimore, Johnny Rawls, Home Made Jamz, Super Chikan Johnson, Jimbo Mathus, Robert Belfour, Eddie Cusic, Pat Thomas, Lusicous Spiller and many more.

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2013 - 26th Annual Festival
August 9th, 10th and 11th
Headliner - Bobby Rush and North Mississippi All Stars


This year's festival is dedicated to the late Melville Tillis, owner of the Rivermount Lounge (a frequent venue for the likes of Rush, Ike Turner, and Little Milton), blues historian, festival co-chairman, and friend to the Delta Blues Museum.

Tributes to Arthneice "Gas Man" Jones, DBM Band performances, and the opening of the Delta Blues Museum's new exhibit "26 Years of Sunflower" are just a few of the events planned for this years Sunflower Festival.

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2012 - 25th Annual Festival
August 10th, 11th and 12th
Headliner - Robert Plant with special guest Patty Griffin


Other celebrities booked for the festival are multiple Grammy nominee Charlie Musselwhite, and Entertainer of the Year favorite Bobby Rush.

Delta Blues Museum students will open the Friday afternoon electric stage while classic acoustic musicians T-Model Ford, Eddie Cusic, Robert Belfor, Pat Thomas, Arthniece Jones will draw large crowds Saturday morning.

For the 25th annual festival Vickie Winams will be the headliner for the Gospel Festival.


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2011 - 24th Annual Festival
August 12th, 13th and 14th
Headliners - Dorothy Moore and Johnny Rawls


Other award-winning performers in the Sunflower lineup are David Brinston, Nathaniel Kimble, James “Super Chikan” Johnson, Earnest “Guitar” Roy, Kenny Brown, and acoustic legends: Robert Belfour, Eddie Cusic, T-Model Ford, Pat Thomas, Jimmy “Duck” Holmes, Arthneice “Gas Man” Jones, and Lucious Spiller.

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2010 - 23rd Annual Festival
August 6th, 7th and 8th
Tribute - Ike Turner & Rocket 88


Ike Turner and his Rocket 88 crew from Clarksdale who launched the world’s first rock and roll record are being celebrated as musical icons this summer by the Sunflower River Blues and Gospel Festival.

Being planned are reunions, interviews, exhibits, and educational forums similar to last year’s “Remembering Sam Cooke” and others honoring Early Wright, Charlie Musselwhite, Latimore, and Norway ’s Spoonful of Blues Band.

Check out what people are saying about the Festival!


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2009 - 22nd Annual Festival
August 7th, 8th and 9th
Headliners - Bettye Lavette, Super Chikan and more


Opening the main stage Friday night, will be the Delta Blues Musuem Band followed by many other great acts.

Return on Saturday for even more performances including George Horn and South of Memphis, James "Super Chikan" Johnson, T-Model Ford, Shardee Turner, Arthneice "Gas Man" Jones, and many more.

Then finish out the weekend with Gospel at the Civic Auditorium featuring Chapel Hill's Mens Chorus, Billy Rivers & Angelic Voices of Faith plus others.


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2008 - 21st Annual Festival
August 8th, 9th and 10th
Gospel Headliners - Darrell McFadden & the Disciples


Bill Howlin’ Madd Perry, Cadillac John and Bill Abel, Big T and Arthniece “Gas Man” Jones, and Shemekia Copeland are just a few of the performers you can expect at the 21st annual Blues Festival.

The Gospel Festival will give you plenty of enjoyment with Chapel Hill Baptist Male Chorus, Selvy Singers and many others.


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2007 - 20th Annual Festival
August 10th, 11th and 12th
Headliners - Bobby Rush and Denise LaSalle


Howlin’ Madd Bill Perry, Rita Engedalen & Spoonful of Blues from Norway, Shardee Turner & Rising Star Drum & Fife Band are just a few of this years acts.

Billy Rivers and the Angelic Voices of Faith, and Betty Alexander & the Uniques are just the beginning of the Gospel Festival.

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2006 - 19th Annual Festival
August 11th, 12th and 13th
"Sam Carr's House Party"


Sunflower Festival returns as a 3-day festival featuring acts such as Latimore, The North Mississippi Allstars, the Delta Blues Museum Band and many more.

Join us at the Delta Blues Museum for Big George Brock as he talks about his Delta upbringing, his blues club-owning days and friendships with musicians from Muddy Waters to Steven Seagal.

Later at the museum Latimore will be interviewed, then speak, and answer questions about his memorable experiences and influences throughout his long and successful career as superstar.


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2005 - 18th Annual Festival
August 12th and 13th
Headliners - Charlie Musselwhite and Shirley Brown


The Original Delta Fireballs featuring Geneva Red, Robert Belfour, Big T & The Family, David “Honeyboy” Edwards and Sam Carr are just a few of the acts you can see at this years Blues Festival.

During the 18th annual festival, Charlie Musselwhite will be at the Delta Blues Museum giving a talk about his Southern blues roots and influences, his friendships with Clarksdale natives Muddy Waters and John Lee Hooker, and what he has planned for the future.

The Gospel Festival will open with the Rev. Lloyd Johnson & New Tradition and close with headliner The Rev, Andrew Cheairs & the Songbirds of Memphis
.

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2004 - 17th Annual Festival
August 13th and 14th
"Comin Home to Clarksdale"


Just a few of the artists for this years festival include Latimore, Super Chikan, T-Model Ford, Big Jack Johnson & the Oilers, from the Sunflower's sister festival in Quebec, Canada - the Bottleneck Blues Band, plus many others.

The Gospel Festival features Nelson Larkins & God's Possey of Chicago, The Delta Big Four of Lambert, and from Arkansas - The Morning Starlights of Cotton Plant, and The Smith Singers of Marianna, as well as The Pilgrim Wonders of Toledo, Ohio.

Check out what people are saying about the Festival!


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2003 - 16th Annual Festival
August 8th and 9th
Honoring - Muddy Waters and Otha Turner


Performances by Latimore, T-Model Ford, Big Jack Johnson, Sam Carr and many more.

A tribute to Othar Turner will feature a documentary by filmmaker Scott Jennison with music by Othar Turner's granddaughter, Sharde and the Rising Star Fife and Drum Band. .

A Festival Bonus - "Live Blues" (partially subsidized by the Sunflower River Blues Association) is being planned Thursday night at Ground Zero Blues Club, Hopson Commissary, Sarah's Kitchen, Jacqueline's Blues Bar and Red's.


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2002 - 15th Annual Festival
August 9th and 10th
Tribute - Little Jr. Parker


Headlining this years festival are Charlie Musselwhite and Bobby "Blue" Bland. Other performances include Big Jack Johnson, O B Buchana and many more.

The Gospel Stage in the Clarksdale Civic Auditorium will feature The Jackson Southernaires.

Check out what people are saying about the Festival!


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2001 - 14th Annual Festival
August 10th and 11th
Headliner - The Pilgrim Jubilees


Spoonful of Blues from Notodden, Norway is sure to please along with the Delta Blues Museum Band on the Blues Alley Stage.

James Williams and The Messengers, Yolanda Troupe-Williams, and more are set to perform on the Gospel Stage.


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2000 - 13th Annual Festival
August 13th, 14th and 15th
Headliners - Koko Taylor and Bobby Rush


In remembrance of Frank Frost, Little Jeno Tucker, Wade Walton and Early Wright.

The JT Express with Arthniece Jones, the Stone Gas Man, "Tater" Foster Wiley, Blind Mississippi Morris and many more are sure to whet your blues appetite.

Sunday's Gospel Festival features the Clarksdale Mass Elementary School Choir, the Victory Travelers and many more.


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1999 - 12th Annual Festival
August 13th, 14th and 15th
Headliners - Otis Clay, Charlie Musselwhite, and Eddie Campbell


Also appearing are Super Chikan, Frank Frost, Sam Carr, Othar Turner, Johnny & The Midniters plus many more you don't want to miss.

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1998 - 11th Annual Festival
August 7th and 8th
Headliners - Rufus Thomas, Lynn White, and R.L. Burnside


Additional performances by Big Jack Johnson, The Kinsey Report, Charlie Musselwhite, Lonnie Pitchford and many more.

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1997 - 10th Annual Festival
August 1st, 2nd and 3rd
Headliners - Little Milton and Ike Turner


At the Railroad Depot and the Delta Blues Museum you be sure to enjoy some great blues acts.

This years headliners are Little Milton and Ike Turner with additional performances by Big Jack Johnson, Clayton Love, Frank Frost & Sam Carr, plus many others you are sure to enjoy.

Slim and the Supreme Angels, Racy Bros, Delta Big Four and others are sure to please on Sunday at the Gospel Fest.


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1996 - 9th Annual Festival
August 2nd, 3rd and 4th
Headliner - Bobby Rush


Sweet Miss Coffy and Eddie Rasberry, Lonnie Shields, Charlie Musselwhite, Robert "Bilbo" Walker are just a few of the acts for your weekend enjoyment.

The Gospel Festival on Sunday features Willie Neal Johnson & The Gospel Keynotes.


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1995 - 8th Annual Festival
August 4th, 5th and 6th
Headliners - Denise LaSalle, Charlie Musselwhite and Frank Frost


Sam Carr, Lonnie Pitchford, Jack Owens and Bud Spires are sure to keep you entertained.

On Sunday see The Jackson Southernaires perform gospel.


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1994 - 7th Annual Festival
August 5th, 6th and 7th
Headliners - Bobby Rush and The Williams Bros


This years festival marks the second year for the Gospel Festival which has been incorporated into the Blues Festival.

Join us as The Williams Bros headlines the Gospel portion of the festival on Sunday.


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1993 - 6th Annual Festival
August 6th and 7th
Headliners - Booba Barnes and Junior Kimbrough


With 20 performers this year, it is sure to be a great festival.

This years event includes stars from the motion picture film "Deep Blues".


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1992 - 5th Annual Festival
August 7th and 8th
Headliners - Katie Webster, Big Jack Johnson and the Jelly Roll Kings


Featured artists for this years event are Katie Webster & The Vasti Jackson Band, the Jelly Roll Kings, Big Jack Johnson.

Additional performances by Pinetop Perkins, Snooky Pryor, Lonnie Pitchford and many more.


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1991 - 4th Annual Festival
August 9th and 10th
Headliners - Otis Clay & Big Jack Johnson


Come on out and enjoy the blues this weekend.

Sam & Doris Carr, Stone Gas Band, Clayton Love, and Wade Walton are just a few performances you don't want to miss.


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1990 - 3rd Annual Festival
August 4th
Various Artists


This years festival brings to the stage special guests Big George Brock, Sam & Doris Carr, Johnnie Billington, and Patrick Murphy.

You can also expect to be entertained during the weekend by Mojo Buford, Big Jack Johnson, Stone Gas Band, and more!


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1989 - 2nd Annual Festival
August 5th, 6th and 7th
Headliners - Bobby Rush & Big Jack Johnson


Funded largely by individual donors, the second Sunflower Festival featured Bobby Rush and Big Jack Johnson.

The Williams Bros. was the featured gospel act of the weekend.


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1988 - 1st Annual Festival
June 4th
Headliners - James "Son" Thomas & Otis Rush


Join us in Clarksdale, Mississippi for the first annual Sunflower River Blues & Gospel Festival!

This inaugural event is funded primarily by merchants in the downtown Clarksdale area and organized by Jim O'Neal and Dr. Patricia Johnson.


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For more information regarding the Sunflower River Blues & Gospel Festival please visit www.sunflowerfest.org.

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