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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Pascagoula in Jackson County, Mississippi — The American South (East South Central)
 

Mississippi Gulf Coast Blues & Heritage Festival

 
 
Mississippi Gulf Coast Blues & Heritage Festival Marker (Front) image. Click for full size.
By Mark Hilton, March 22, 2017
1. Mississippi Gulf Coast Blues & Heritage Festival Marker (Front)
Inscription.
Front
The Mississippi Gulf Coast Blues & Heritage Festival, one of the longest running blues festivals in the Deep South, was founded in 1991 by the Mississippi Gulf Coast Blues Commission, Inc. At the Mississippi Coast Coliseum in Biloxi and later here at the Jackson County Fairgrounds, the festival has featured a lively array of southern soul, blues, zydeco and gospel acts. Mississippi blues and soul headliners have included Bobby Rush, Theodis Ealey, O.B. Buchana and Nathaniel Kimble.

Rear
Mississippi Gulf Coast Blues & Heritage Festival was established by Winston Smith and a core group of blues supporters from the African American community who formed the Mississippi Gulf Coast Blues Commission (MGCBC) in 1991. Smith, a lieutenant commander in the U.S. Navy, had just been assigned to Ingalls Shipbuilding in Pascagoula after serving in California, where he had enjoyed attending the Monterey Bay Blues Festival. When he arrived in Mississippi, he found there was no blues festival on the coast. To fill the void, Smith and the charter members of the MGCBC pledged their own funds to co-sponsor the first festival with the Biloxi Coliseum.

The stated mission of the MGCBC was to hold the annual blues festival every September, to share the proceeds with youth organizations in the coastal
Mississippi Gulf Coast Blues & Heritage Festival Marker (Rear) image. Click for full size.
By Mark Hilton, March 22, 2017
2. Mississippi Gulf Coast Blues & Heritage Festival Marker (Rear)
counties of Mississippi, and "to promote the blues as an art form that originated in Mississippi and her southern sister states." Under the leadership of Addie Brent, Phyllis Owens, Isiah Edwards, Sam Walley, Louis Maxey, Finas Belk, Maggie Richardson and their dedicated colleagues, the festival brought a wealth of talent to the Mississippi Coast Coliseum for seven years and then to the Jackson County Fairgrounds beginning in 1998. Only in 2005 in the wake of Hurricane Katrina did the festival have to be cancelled.

Festival lineups have featured internationally renowned touring acts, stars on the southern soul circuit, local Gulf Coast blues and soul favorites, Louisiana zydeco bands, and many church choirs and gospel groups. The list of leading blues and soul entertainers has included Johnnie Taylor, the Average White Band, Koko Taylor, Millie Jackson, Clarence Carter, Mel Waiters, Bobby Bland, Latimore, Sir Charles Jones, Marvin Sease and Mississippians Bobby Rush, Denise LaSalle, Willie Clayton, O.B. Buchana, Little Milton, Ms. Jody, Theodis Ealey, Sam Myers and Nathaniel Kimble. The festival has presented Mississippi Gulf Coast performers Keith "Chicken Daddy" Hunter & Hot Wings, Sue Venable & DeVille, Libby Rae Watson, the Pat Murphy Band, Jerry Fisher & the Music Company, Joe Salmon, the 4 Real Show & Band and Unckle Eddie, as well as the Apollo Blues Band, James
Closeup of photos on rear. image. Click for full size.
By Mark Hilton, March 22, 2017
3. Closeup of photos on rear.
Payne and Geno Wesley from Mobile, and many New Orleans singers and bands, including Irma Thomas, Arthur Foy, Sunpie Barnes and the Crescent City Connection.

The festival has held special ceremonies to honor Charles Fairley of Moss Point, Margie Joseph of Gautier, Rip Daniels of the Gulfport-based American Blues Network, and longtime MGCBC member Victoria Webb, who died in 2013 at the age of 105. The commission has also sponsored other events including an annual Mardi Gras carnival ball, fundraising concerts, and a musical instrument contest for students.
 
Erected 2016 by the Mississippi Blues Commission. (Marker Number 191.)
 
Marker series. This marker is included in the Mississippi Blues Trail marker series.
 
Location. 30° 22.846′ N, 88° 31.99′ W. Marker is in Pascagoula, Mississippi, in Jackson County. Marker is on Shortcut Road 0.1 miles east of Hospital Road when traveling east. Touch for map. Located in front of the Jackson County Fairgrounds. Marker is at or near this postal address: 2802 Shortcut Road, Pascagoula MS 39567, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 2 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Pascagoula Street Railroad and Power Company (approx. 1.4 miles away); Krebs Cotton Gin
View of marker in front of Jackson County Fairgrounds where festival is held. image. Click for full size.
By Mark Hilton, March 22, 2017
4. View of marker in front of Jackson County Fairgrounds where festival is held.
(approx. 1 miles away); Jackson County WWII Memorial (approx. 1 miles away); Mississippi (approx. 1 miles away); Round Island Lighthouse (approx. 1 miles away); a different marker also named Round Island Lighthouse (approx. 1 miles away); a different marker also named Round Island Lighthouse (approx. 1 miles away); Pascagoula Fire Fighters (approx. 1.7 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Pascagoula.
 
Also see . . .  Website about the Annual Mississippi Gulf Coast Blues & Heritage Festival. (Submitted on March 23, 2017, by Mark Hilton of Montgomery, Alabama.)
 
Categories. African AmericansArts, Letters, MusicEntertainmentNotable Events
 
View from marker on Shortcut Road towards Hospital & Telephone Road (MS-613). image. Click for full size.
By Mark Hilton, March 22, 2017
5. View from marker on Shortcut Road towards Hospital & Telephone Road (MS-613).
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on March 23, 2017. This page originally submitted on March 23, 2017, by Mark Hilton of Montgomery, Alabama. This page has been viewed 64 times since then. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5. submitted on March 23, 2017, by Mark Hilton of Montgomery, Alabama.
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