Juke Joint Festival in Clarksdale, MS

I was in Clarksdale, Mississippi recently for the Juke Joint Festival, an annual event celebrating the birthplace of the Blues. After attending the festivities, I had a whole new appreciation for Blues music. The Blues I learned comes in many different artistic and musical forms, some I didn’t care for, but most I found permeated my soul in a way I had never discovered before.

Blues Musician at Juke Joint Festival

While in Clarksdale I really enjoyed strolling the downtown streets…it’s a community steeped in history with rugged character to boot.  The photographic opportunities are endless, and so too are the listening pleasure of Blues music on nearly every corner (and inside the clubs).  I was exposed to many types of Blues music and I was diggin’ it! Music is something that moves me. I find music to be very profound, almost as if it were an occasional requirement to nourishment my soul.  I will admit however, the Blues was never a genre I’d spent much time listening to or admiring—after the Juke Joint Festival and exploring the various Blues museums around the Mississippi Delta, I’m now a fan!

Mississippi Delta Blues Museum

The Juke Joint Festival is a mixture that includes an array of Blues music, as well as a hometown fair that celebrates its past and living history. There are more than  a hundred Blues acts during the course of the weekend, and most are from Mississippi. There are over a dozen small stages throughout town for the larger acts, but you’ll also find street performers on nearly every corner.

Blues musician in Clarksdale, Mississippi

Inside Ground Zero in Clarksdale, MS
Ground Zero is one of the premier places in town to watch live Blues music.

Clarksdale, Mississppi is where Blues greats Son House, John Lee Hooker, Junior Parker, Ike Turner, Eddie Boyd, Sam Cooke, Muddy Waters, Pinetop Perkins, Earl Hooker, Lil Green, Big Jack Johnson and many many others once called home. It’s the land of the Crossroads! And, it’s just a couple hours south of the Memphis International Airport.

This iconic sign welcomes visitors to the spot where some claim is the crossroads where Robert Johnson sold his soul to the devil.
This iconic sign welcomes visitors to the spot some where some claim is the crossroads where Robert Johnson sold his soul to the devil.
 Clint Eastwood mural in Clarksdale, MS
There are many fantastic murals in Clarksdale, including this one of Clint Eastwood (aka Dirty Harry)

If you’ve ever been to the Juke Joint Festival in Clarksdale, MS, please leave a comment below and share your experience. If not, don’t miss this video overview so you can start making your plans for next year.

Mike Shubic

Mike Shubic is a seasoned road trip travel video blogger, traversing the byways of the world looking for those hidden gems of the road. From unique destinations, unexpected discoveries, creative cuisine, intriguing inns to exciting attractions…the road is his page. The experiences are his ink. And every 300 miles, a new chapter begins. Whether you live vicariously or by example, Mike will do the exploring so you can have an adventure.


Leave your comment