Some of my favorite things besides photography is travelling and live music, so why not combo the two? A few of my friends and I hopped in a car a couple weeks ago and headed to Clarksdale, Mississippi for the annual Juke Joint Festival. AMAZING music by some legends that I never imaged I'd get to hear live, let alone meet and chat with. Then add in some historical landmarks, great friends and beautiful weather and I really could not have asked for much more. This is definitely one of my favorite life experiences to date!
There is a bunch of photos with my pro camera, some short video clips and snaps with my phone...because sometimes life happens and you just don't have time to pull out the big camera in time.
We headed out of Colorado towards Tulsa, Oklahoma on Thursday. While in Tulsa we stopped in at Kilkenny's for some dinner and to say hello to some folks that Rob and Ashleigh knew from last year. Enjoyed some great food and company.
The next morning we headed for West Helena, Arkansas. This was the little town we stayed in for a couple nights and it's only about a half hour drive to Clarksdale. We found a great little pizza place on Main Street for dinner...but of course, Ashleigh and I had to get some photos first. Most of the street was abandoned and it has been for a very long time. The shops and restaurants that were there were beautifully updated and they really kept most of the historic architecture in tact, which I am a huge fan of.
All of these abandoned buildings were a photographers dream! I wish I had a few models and some gorgeous dresses with me!
This beer by Lazy Magnolia is the only beer made from Pecans. It was so yummy that I wanted to bring a case home with me! The shops hours on main street were hilarious!
We took a little 10 minute detour after dinner to drive over the Mississippi River.
We decided that night to find a local bar and just chill for awhile since Saturday was going to be a long day. There aren't many options in West Helena. I think Ashleigh found two options online so we went to the one that had recent reviews. It was called The General Store and it was a bar up front and a bait shop in back. This little spot was located in the middle of a neighborhood so there was no way we would have found it without a little help from Google. Coming from Colorado where we haven't been able to smoke in bars in years this place took a few minutes to get use to. The locals were friendly, there was cold beer (and they only had light beer when I typically drink porters and stouts), a pool table and a jukebox. We really couldn't have asked for more! We had so much fun! We went to the other bar in town and sang karaoke then called it a night.
Saturday morning we headed across the Mississippi River to Clarksdale for the Juke Joint Festival. This event was way more than I could have expected. Trying to explain what it was like.... words could never express everything.
The sound of amazing live music on every street corner, the smell of the most delicious BBQ with a little mix of cigars, ice cold beer and the friendliest people I've ever met.
Sitting outside of Cat Head was my favorite spot. They had some great live music by some of the best artists in Mississippi. We also headed over to Ground Zero Blues Club for awhile to get out of the sun. We shopped a bit, stopped to listen to the various bands and stopped by the petting zoo.
A little video from my phone while we sat inside Ground Zero Blues Club...
We ventured back to Cat Head to catch some more amazing live blues, including R.L. Boyce, Carlos Elliot Jr and The Cornlickers and many more.
A quick little phone video of Carlos Elliot Jr. This was amazing to experience in-person and phone videos do not do it justice!
I could have listened to them all day long!
Ashleigh's husband, Rob, was able to chat with R.L. Boyce for a little while after his set. I don't think I've ever seen Rob so happy! We took pictures with the band and shared their "water". It was a blast!!
Next stop.....Red's Blues Club!! This place is an authentic juke joint and if you're in Clarksdale this should be on your must see list!
Another great man we were able to listen to was Cadillac John. It was also his 89th birthday and we were able to shake his hand, get an autograph and chat with him for a few minutes. And of course, half way through this amazing night my camera battery died so most of these are phone photos. Still did the trick!
After an amazing day and an even more amazing night, it was time to head back to the hotel to get some rest before the long drive back home to Denver.
We traveled through some pretty bad weather on our way home but we made the best of it. Singing at the top of our lungs the whole way to Wichita before heading on home. Doing a road trip with friends can sometimes be stressful but this one never was. Ashleigh, Rob and Dave were awesome travel companions and my stomach still hurts from all of the laughter. This trip was great and there are no words to express how much I enjoyed this experience....and going through toll booths will never be the same. Thanks for the laughs and fantastic memories!
Silver Sparrow Photography LLC
Adventures with Sunshine - Juke Joint Festival 2016