Friday, March 24, 2017

This Juke Joint’s Hopin’

Clarksdale, Mississippi, rests in the heart of the Delta, an epicenter of blues history and activity. It’s one of the reasons why Morgan Freeman named his Clarksdale blues club, “Ground Zero.” The weekend of April 22 the blues and other music styles are celebrated on 13 daytime stages and 20 nighttime venues at the Juke Joint Festival. This annual fete attracts visitors from all over Mississippi, plus numerous states and at least 28 foreign countries, said festival co-organizer Roger Stolle.

"If this event doesn't make you smile, then your lips must be broken," Stolle said in a press release announcing the festival. "Blues music, juke joints, monkeys riding dogs — I mean, what else do you need to know? It's absolutely ridiculous — in the best of ways!"

In addition to the constant music Thursday through Sunday, there’s the Juke Joint Festival Kick-off at Delta Cinema at 5 p.m. Thursday, and the return of Thacker Mountain Radio to the New Roxy at 6 p.m. Friday. There’s Sunday’s Cat Head Mini Blues Fest and the Second Street Blues Party, a 5K/8K run, children’s activities, arts and crafts and, of course, lots of great Southern food. And yes, there will be monkeys riding dogs.

For more information and a schedule of events, visit

Cheré Dastugue Coen is a food and travel writer living in South Louisiana who is the author of several Louisiana romances under the pen name of Cherie Claire and the author of “Forest Hill, Louisiana: A Bloom Town History,” “Haunted Lafayette, Louisiana” and “Exploring Cajun Country” and co-author of “Magic’s in the Bag: Creating Spellbinding Gris Gris Bags and Sachets.” Write her at

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