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Sunflower Fest to Announce Superstars March 2, 2012

Press Release - 02/23/2012

Sunflower River Blues and Gospel Festival

Panny Mayfield, publicist

Public invited to attend announcement news at Ground Zero Blues Club

CLARKSDALE ‐ Multiple headliners including an internationally-renowned superstar booked to perform at the Sunflower River Blues and Gospel Festival's 25th anniversary this summer will be announced Friday, March 2, at Ground Zero Blues Club, according to festival co-chairman.

"This is exciting news that promises a spectacular celebration for Clarksdale and Mississippi, and far beyond," says longtime festival co-chairman Melville Tillis.

"We invite our friends, supporters, blues fans, and media to join us from 6 ‐ 8 p.m. to hear more about it," continues Tillis.

Scheduled for the Aug. 10-11-12 weekend, the festival will remain free and is expected to attract additional thousands of visitors beyond last year's 25,000 attendance.

Tillis said Sunflower members have been meeting and planning the anniversary festival since last year's 24th celebration.

The 25th anniversary festival design was created by artist Cristen Craven Barnard, a Coahoma County native who also designed posters three other Sunflower festivals.

Sunflower anniversary t-shirts in multiple colors, caps, posters, and other souvenirs featuring Barnard's design will be displayed at Ground Zero as well as sign-up sheets for volunteers.

Keyboard artist Marco Stewart will be providing music for the announcement gathering, and Jimbo Mathus will be performing afterward.

The first Sunflower Festival took place in 1988 with headliners Otis Rush and James Son Thomas performing the finale in the Larry Thompson Center.

Others musicians playing on the Sunflower River stage beneath the Riverside Recreation Center and also a flatbed truck near the Stackhouse/Rooster Records were Jessie Mae Hemphill, Jack Owens and Bud Spires, the Jelly Roll Kings: Big Jack Johnson, Frank Frost, and Sam Carr, Boogaloo Ames, and others.

In the past two decades headliners have included Koko Taylor, Bobby Blue Bland, Charlie Musselwhite, Bobby Rush, Denise LaSalle, Shirley Brown, Shemekia Copeland, Bettye LaVette, Latimore, Otis Clay, Honeyboy Edwards, the North Mississippi All Stars, Big Jack Johnson, Super Chikan Johnson, Lonnie Shields, Big Bill Morganfield and others.

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

For 25 years Othar Turner's Rising Star Fife and Drum Corp now led by his granddaughter, Shardee Turner, has kicked off a procession from the acoustic stage to open the main stage.

The Sunflower River Blues Association is a non-profit, 501c3 organization composed entirely of volunteers.

Tax-exempt donations and grant awards from organizations, corporations, businesses, and individuals underwrite musician fees and all production costs.

For updates, visit the festival website: www.sunflowerfest.org

Festival merchandise and VIP tickets will be available also through the website.

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Clarksdale, MS 38614
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