The purpose of the Mississippi Delta Blues and Heritage Festival is to reach a worldwide audience with a celebration of the contributions the Mississippi Delta Blues culture has made to the American story - and to help preserve that culture.
The first Mississippi Delta Blues Festival was more of a community gathering than a musical concert. It, along with the next nine Festivals, was held at Freedom Village, a rural community of less than 100 people which showed what was wrong with poverty and the programs designed to remedy poverty. Initially, the Festival was almost exclusively comprised of traditional blues people, playing acoustic instruments, (guitar, harmonica, and jug), on a flatbed trailer stage surrounded by the audience. While the Festival has grown in size, and certain aspects (staging, security, and management) have become more professional, it is still a community event, affordable to most residents and depending heavily on community volunteers.
Participants at the Festival have included most of this country’s most famous performers, almost all of the Delta’s indigenous blues performers, and many emerging talents.
When it’s all said and done, we will be among the ten largest cities in the State of Mississippi on this third Saturday in September. Our greatest asset is that we all love the Blues, and that we should be able to enjoy this event as neighbors and, hopefully, as friends. Work with your neighbors. Look out for each other. Be helpful and courteous to all concerned. We thank you all for coming, and for making each Festival the best ever.
About Mississippi Action for Community Education (MACE):
Mississippi Action for Community Education (MACE) is a nonâ€profit, community development corporation established in 1967 by civil rights activists and community organizers, including Fannie Lou Hamer and Unita Blackwell, to build human capacities and indigenous community development efforts in the Mississippi Delta. Many of the early organizers and leaders trained by MACE came directly from the cotton fields and plantations that also shaped the evolution and development of the Delta's early blues artists. Over the past 46 years, MACE has trained more than 300 local community organizers and leaders who now serve as senators, congress persons, mayors and serve in other public and private sector leadership positions in Mississippi and beyond. The organization has helped form dozens of local selfâ€help organizations; provided financial, technical and training support that has resulted in more than $20 million in municipal services improvement in rural communities; incorporated four communities as towns, and assisted those towns in securing more than $40 million in vital municipal services; and developed more than 400 units of housing for the physically challenged, elderly and lowâ€income persons at a cost of more than $12 million.