The North Mississippi Hill Country Picnic celebrates its fourth year with a lineup that celebrates the legacy of local blues legends including R.L. Burnside, Junior Kimbrough and Othar Turner. Many artists performing at Potts Camp in Marshall County Friday and Saturday are, in fact, their children and grandchildren.
Performers with local roots include the North Mississippi Allstars, the Rising Star Fife and Drum Band, DuWayne Burnside, the duo of Cedric Burnside and Lightnin’ Malcolm, David Kimbrough, Burnside Exploration and Robert Belfour. Some of the other 20-plus acts scheduled include Bobby Rush, T-Model Ford, Jimbo Mathus, Reverend John Wilkins, Eric Deaton, Rocket 88 and Shannon McNally.
Nesbit native Kenny Brown, who played guitar with R.L. Burnside for three decades, runs the festival as a nonprofit venture with wife Sara Davis. While traveling with Burnside and with his own group, Brown witnessed the popularity of North Mississippi blues around the world, and created the festival to help gain more recognition for the music locally.
“The picnic’s gotten bigger every year and we hope that it continues to grow,” says Brown. “It’s definitely helped the economy of Marshall County, and last year we had 32 states and seven countries represented. That’s pretty good for a pasture party.”
Brown also suggested that the festival’s success might have contributed to Congress’ recognition of the “Mississippi Hills National Heritage Area” earlier this year.
Music runs from noon to midnight Friday and Saturday, and campers can set up next to a well-shaded creek.
Festivities continue Sunday evening with Cedric Burnside and Lightnin’ Malcolm at the Foxfire Ranch (foxfireexperience.net) between Oxford and Holly Springs.
Festival tickets are $25 per day, free for kids 12 and younger. Fees are $25 for camping and $10 for coolers (no glass allowed).
For more information about the festival, visit nmshillcountrypicnic.com.