juke joint festival

Juke Joint Festival Attendees Travel to North Delta Museum


WED, 04/17/2019 - 3:23PM

FRIARS POINT — History in Clarksdale and Coahoma County extends well beyond the blues.

Residents of Friars Point attempted to show some of that history during the Juke Joint Festival on Friday when two shuttle bus tours went from the tourism office in Clarksdale all the way to the North Delta Museum in Friars Point.

Flo Shackelford led the shuttle tour and passed out a packet of information for everyone to be able to read and learn about Friars Point.

“We just love history and I love everybody’s history and so I hope I’m going to be able to entertain you,” Shackelford said.

The shuttle stopped by the Mississippi River in Friars Point, which Shackelford said was the No. 1 tourist attraction in the United States.

“You all came because of the blues. Robert Johnson played on the bench in front of Hirsberg in the ’30s, but I’m going to take you back 100 years,” Shackelford said.

Some of the information Shackelford provided said the town of Friars Point was located deep in the Mississippi Delta in the heart of the cotton belt and on the banks of the Mississippi River. It was founded in 1836 as a major steamboat port, shipping the cotton grown on the rich Delta soil to Memphis to be sold.

Also included in the packet was information showing Friars Point was the county seat of Coahoma County from 1858 to 1935.

It continues, “During this time, the War Between the States broke out; and February 16, 1861, Friars Point organized the ‘Coahoma Invincibles’ which became Company B of the famous Eleventh Mississippi.”

The pamphlet shows the old Coahoma County Courthouse was once in Friars Point and the old Suddoth Hotel faced the river on First Street and accomodated steamboat travelers.

Willie Giles runs the North Delta Museum and, in his experience, many individuals do not know as much history as they should.

Tourists are able to learn some of that history at the museum.

“They can look for things their parents should be teaching them that they don’t know,” Giles said. “Children can learn so much by attending the museum. Every time a group attends, I tell them about things they didn’t know about. It’s great for children to say they have learned something.”

Giles’ father, Profit, was a World War I and II veteran.

“He told me a lot of things,” Giles said.

“I was too young at the time. He taught me a lot of things in the later years he had to go through in the war.”

Giles learned how his father protected himself during the wars. He used guns such as the Italian carcano carbine and German mauser.

When those guns are out of bullets, he was able to protect himself by stabbing someone with a knife at the end of the gun.

“They had some kind of a gun,” Giles said. “They had a sword-looking thing.”

Those guns are on display at the museum.

Expect One Big Damn Party This Weekend at Juke Joint Festival


WED, 04/10/2019 - 3:25PM

No stranger to the Juke Joint Festival, Clarksdale anticipates one of its favorites, Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band, with two opportunities to experience their vibe: Saturday night at New Roxy at 8 and 11 a.m. Sunday at the Cat Head Mini Blues Fest.

In light of pure irony, the band is comprised of three members — not “big” in size, but definitely in style and sound. Around  the age of 18, Rev Payton had a habit of saying, “That’s a big damn car” or “That’s a big damn chair.”

“It kind of just became a thing. I thought it was funny to call the band that and have there only be guitar and percussion,” he said. “I still laugh about it!”

Married since 19, Reverend Peyton’s wife, “Washboard” Breezy Peyton, brings a unique percussive sound and on the other side of Rev on stage is Max Senteney on drums.

Inspired by legends like Charlie Patton, Mississippi Fred McDowell, Mississippi John Herb, Rev’s band began to commit more to their music, and it took off in a major way. People responded.

The band sold everything and lived in a van for two years when they were starting out.

“From the gate, it was just a belief that we were onto something and had a story to tell and that this music needed more people continuing it and keeping it alive by taking it to new places,” Reverend says.

Known across the nation for their hit song, “Clap Your Hands,” the front porch blues band cherishes the Juke Joint Festival and Clarksdale being one of the first places to embrace them and really understand what they were doing.

“As long as we can, we’re gonna keep coming back,” says Reverend, the group’s lead songwriter, guitarist and lead vocalist.

Robin Colonas, owner of the New Roxy, expects quite the turnout for the show as it's their busiest night of the year.

“Sometimes we have tables and chairs out, but for this show, we remove all furniture for Rev’s band, because it’s just that crowded — standing-room only,” Colonas said.

As an original holder in the lineup, Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band has been coming since the fest began and will bring history, showmanship and respect for Clarksdale and the people who have made it special.

“We have a ton of respect for this music and this place,” Reverend said. “For us, this is more than a show. This is like coming back home and basking in the energy. It’s gonna be the biggest, wildest show of the fest. Guaranteed!”


Getting to Know Reverend Peyton

We asked three random questions of Reverend Peyton, the lead songwriter, guitarist and lead vocalist for Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band, which performs this weekend at the Juke Joint Festival.

What are your three favorite movies?

“A River Runs Through It,” “The Shawshank Redemption,” and “Captain Ron.”

Who would you pick to play you in a movie?

Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson

What’s a product or service you love so much that you’d be happy to be its spokesperson?

National Guitars

What is your favorite day of the week, and why?

Tuesday. As a musician, every day is Saturday. But we get a lot of Mondays and Tuesdays off, and when you have the day off on a Tuesday, you can go anywhere you want (museums, stores, parks, etc.) and everything’s quiet. No one’s there.

What are the three most memorable things from high school?

#1. I had this busted 1979 El Dorado Cadillac I got from a friend by only paying the impound fee that I just absolutely loved.

#2. I had a blues band in high school. We would have big shows, and it seemed like the whole school would come. It was a lot of fun.

#3. Hanging out late at night at Steak-N-Shake

Thousands Ready to Party at the Juke Joint Festival This Weekend

Thousands ready to party at the Juke Joint Festival in Mississippi

By: Tom Dees

Juke Joint Festival on Fox

CLARKSDALE, Miss. - Thousands are ready to party in Mississippi this weekend. The highly anticipated Juke Joint Festival starts this Thursday in Clarksdale.

Officials said the festival is set to bring in a record crowd this year.

Krista Sweetser and her husband came to the Juke Joint Festival two years in a row. This year they got here early and plan on staying in a camper - because hotels are booked up.

"We just loved it, all the street musicians, the music, the variety of music - it was just wonderful," Sweetser said.

City leaders said 10,000 people a day are expected. The exact dollar figure has never been calculated, but it is estimated to bring millions to Clarksdale.

Blues fans from 28 foreign countries, 46 states, and 52 Mississippi counties have made the trip for the festival.

Music store clerk Frank McKenna said the festival continues to grow.

"It's gotten more and more popular we have a hundred playing," McKenna said.

Sweetser said most of the money she spends during the Juke Joint Festival will go to the musicians.

"All the musicians you see - you need to tip. That's how they make their money."