Clarksdale’s premier blues festival will not be held this year due to health concerns from the coronavirus outbreak.
In a statement released this morning, Juke Joint Festival organizers said the event set for April 18 will be cancelled and rescheduled for April 17, 2021.
"We have been in constant conversation with Mayor Espy during this crisis, and he has been in contact with the Mississippi State Department of Health and the Centers for Disease Control," said festival spokesperson Roger Stolle. "While many attendees and local businesses voiced support for the festival as late as Saturday, the latest news from the State and CDC precipitated this decision. The health of our often older musicians, attendees, organizers and community neighbors is just too important."
Saturday Governor Tate Reeves declared a statewide State of Emergency due to Coronavirus COVID-19.
Sunday, the Centers for Disease Control, in concert with the Mississippi State Department of Health, announced, in part: "CDC, in accordance with its guidance for large events and mass gatherings, recommends that for the next eight weeks, organizers (whether groups or individuals) cancel or postpone in-person events that consist of 50 people or more throughout the United States."
Stolle had said as late as Saturday morning the event was still scheduled but they were wrestling with the issue and had no way to predict what might be happening in the country, state or Clarksdale in a month.
These two events by state and federal agencies, apparently prompted today’s cancellation.
"Festival organizers will be in contact with musicians, artists, vendors, venues and others directly impacted by this unfortunate cancellation," said festival co-organizer Nan Hughes. "These are trying times, and we appreciate our festival friends and supporters more than ever."
Juke Joint Festival's 2020 pre-sale wristbands and pre-paid exhibitor spaces will be automatically transferred to and valid for the 2021 event and event organizers said more details will be released as next year’s event unfolds.
The Juke Joint Festival is Clarksdale’s largest blues festival regularly attracting more than 20,000 people to the community to listen to three days of blues music and visit booths in Downtown Clarksdale on Saturday.
In its 17th year the Juke Joint Festival is also a boon to restaurants, hotels and practically every business in Clarkdale each spring.
For Juke Joint Festival updates, go to www.jukejointfestival.com.