Vicksburg Blues Society earns grants totaling $34,500 to develop Blues programs

Published 8:05 pm Sunday, August 6, 2017

The Vicksburg Blues Society has received four tourism development grants totaling $34,500 to develop Blues programs in Vicksburg an other areas of the state.

The grants, which were awarded by the Mississippi Development Authority/ Visit Mississippi, are designed to help the society produce and direct programs and performances that will attract visitors to Vicksburg and Mississippi, and celebrate the Mississippi Bicentennial.

“We are very excited to receive these grants,” Vicksburg Blues Society president Shirley Waring said. “This is the best we’ve ever done.

“These grants will greatly enhance our program of work for the coming year. We appreciate this important opportunity provided by Visit Mississippi. Since 2006, the VBS program of work includes partnering with local venues and organizations to produce many events and performances in Vicksburg. We also work to create collaborations with other organizations throughout the region.”

She said the programs will take place during a 12-month period ending June 30, 2018.

“These are exceptional awards and will press forward our community efforts to give our visitors what they say they crave —more blues experiences.” said Michael Logue, co-chair of the Historic Vicksburg Advisory Council, a community-wide group working to develop the historic tourism industry in Vicksburg.

Waring said the programs and locations are still in their planning stages, but are expected to feature performances in Vicksburg, Bentonia and Indianola, the birthplace of B.B. King.

The proposed projects include:

• Mississippi’s American Jazz Legends Series, which will be in Vicksburg, honoring Vicksburg natives Milt Hinton and Hank Jones.

• Mississippi Juke Joint Experience Series, spotlighting Blues artists and expected to be presented at some of Mississippi’s iconic juke joints, including LD’s in Vicksburg and the Blue Front Café, Mississippi’s oldest operating juke, in Bentonia.

• The Blues Society is collaborating with the B.B. King Museum in Indianola one two projects. One is expected to bring B.B. King’s Blues Band, based in Las Vegas, to perform at Club Ebony, the iconic nightclub once owned by B.B. King. The band is comprised of original members of B.B. King’s band.

Another program is a series of Delta Blues performances by artists at the B.B. King Museum. The lineup will include top Blues acts that are active in the Vicksburg Blues Society’s program of work.

About John Surratt

John Surratt is a graduate of Louisiana State University with a degree in general studies. He has worked as an editor, reporter and photographer for newspapers in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post staff since 2011 and covers city government. He and his wife attend St. Paul Catholic Church and he is a member of the Port City Kiwanis Club.

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