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Dynamite Lineup Booked for 2016 Sunflower Fest

Press Release - 07/19/2016

Sunflower River Blues and Gospel Festival

Panny Mayfield, publicist

Super Chikan
Photo Credit: Panny Mayfield

29th FREE Celebration Scheduled August 12‐13‐14 in Downtown Clarksdale

CLARKSDALE ‐ A dynamite lineup of musicians including Lonnie Shields, Super Chikan Johnson, Vasti Jackson, Toni Green, Jimbo Mathus, Sweet Angel, and gospel legend, Lee Williams and the Spiritual QCs will be headlining the free 29th annual Sunflower River Blues and Gospel Festival August 12 ‐ 14, 2016, according to Melvita Tillis Presley and John Sherman, festival co‐chairs.

"Approaching our third decade as one of America's most distinctive music festivals, we are committed to remain FREE and to present only the best entertainers worthy of our blues and gospel heritage," emphasize Presley and Sherman.

Opening at 5:00 p.m. Friday, August 12th, on the main stage with the Delta Blues Museum Band, the festival continues through 11:30 p.m. that night with Heather Crosse, Razorblade Stewart, Jimbo Mathus, Toni Green, and Super Chikan Johnson.

To chill out steamy August afternoons, the festival is expanding its popular Saturday acoustic stage to three cool locations: beneath the air‐cooled VIP Tent on John Lee Hooker Lane; inside Levon's Bar and Grill at 232 Sunflower Ave; and inside the Crossroads Cultural Art Center, 332 Delta Ave.

Performing on these stages with lively interaction expected between artist and audience in the Sunflower's distinctive laid‐back style are 14 musical musicians /acts starting at 10:00 a.m. and continuing through 4:45 p.m. when the main stage reopens with the Bill Abel Band at 5:00 p.m.

Christone "Kingfish" Ingram picks up the pace at 6:00 p.m. followed by Terry Williams, Vasti Jackson, Sweet Angel, and Lonnie Shields.

Toni Green
Photo Credit: Panny Mayfield

On Sunday afternoon and evening, the air‐conditioned Civic Auditorium will host the gospel celebration headlined by super star Lee Williams and the Spiritual QCs.

Inducted into the Mississippi Musicians Hall of Fame, guitar virtuoso Vasti Jackson, winner of the 2015 Albert King Lifetime Guitar Award, Is long overdue in Clarksdale following his early Sunflower performance years ago with Katie Webster on Soldier's Field. He is followed by Stax Museum sensation Toni Green of Memphis and Paris with her nine‐piece band, and Friday night headliner James "Super Chikan" Johnson.

Multi‐talented James "Jimbo" Mathus, music phenom Christone "Kingfish" Ingram, the Bill Abel Band, and Terry "Big T" and the Family Band will dominate the main stage Saturday before last year's unforgettable Sweet Angel in blue singing and playing her saxophone and headliner Lonnie Shields. A Helena native who performed at the very first Sunflower, Shields was nurtured by Sam and Doris Carr and is today's top entertainer on the east coast.

Starring on Saturday's acoustic stages will be Leo "Bud" Welch, Pat Thomas, Lil Willie Farmer, David Dunavant, Lucious Spiller, Marshall Drew, Terry "Harmonica" Bean and Anthony "Big A" Sherrod, Kenny Brown, Jimmy "Duck" Holmes, Mississippi Marshall, Watermelon Slim, Deak Harp and Lee Williams, Bill "Howlin' Madd" Perry, and Sharde Turner and the Rising Star Fife and Drum.

Sunday's gospel stage will feature The Clarksdale Mass Choir, The Singing Echoes, Ned Johnson and the Jonestown Crusaders, The Myles Family, and Lee Williams.

The Sunflower hosts a VIP Tent for supporters who purchase weekend tickets to enjoy seating at linen‐covered tables beneath an air‐cooled tent near the main stage with unlimited beverages from a full bar. For more information, telephone (662) 627‐5301.

For updates and a complete lineup, view the festival's website: www.sunflowerfest.org

The Sunflower Festival has been heralded by USA Weekend as one of America's Top 10 places to hear authentic music. In 2012 it was honored with its own Mississippi Blues Heritage Marker, and Visit South has named it Mississippi's Top Pick of blues festivals in 2016.

Lonnie Shields
Photo Credit: Alice Oliver Photography

Expected among international journalists covering the celebration for websites in Europe is a 13‐member contingent of Italian photographers associated with ViaggioFotografico.

Heading the group is Simona Ottolenghi who attended last year's Sunflower, and writes "Last year's experience in Clarksdale was really amazing, so we are organizing again....and this year we'll stay in Clarksdale for the duration of the 3‐day festival. Each person in the group (last year) shared his pictures everywhere on the web."

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1 Blues Alley
Clarksdale, MS 38614
Phone: 662-627-6820
Email: info@deltabluesmuseum.org