Are you for armed guards at schools?|
Story Archives: Soul Survivors Festival, Blues Trail recognizing Haney's Big House
- 2013 - 290 articles
- 2012 - 856 articles
- 2011 - 635 articles
- 2010 - 1276 articles
- 2009 - 1591 articles
- 2008 - 1763 articles
|Soul Survivors Festival, Blues Trail recognizing Haney's Big House|
The inaugural Soul Survivors Festival is slated for Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. in Ferriday -- birthplace of rock 'n roll icon Jerry Lee Lewis and home of the legendary Haney's Big House nightclub, which will be recognized with a Blues Trail marker in front of the Delta Music Museum.
"Haney's Big House was the big place to be and be seen," said festival organizer Tommy Polk. "Everyone from B.B. King to Fats Domino played there on a regular basis. Even a young Jerry Lee Lewis used to sneak peaks at all the music going on inside."
Club owner Will Haney, who died in 1972 at the age of 76, was one of the most prominent black businessmen in the history of Concordia Parish. Born in 1895, Haney served as a first sergeant in the Army during World War II. After returning to Concordia, he sold insurance, bought and managed his own rental property and operated a Laundromat and a motel. But his claim to fame was his nightclub.
Started as a barbecue joint, Haney's place soon offered gambling and eventually, under the Haney's Big House name, the live blues, boogie and R&B of the day. The venue included about 20 bar stools and 50 tables with chairs for patrons. Before burning to the ground along with the rest of the block in mid-1960s, weekend nights would feature live music and hundreds of customers spilling out into the street.
"It must have really been something to see, back then," said Polk. "Today, much of the musical interest in Ferriday can be traced back to Haney's Big House as well as Jerry Lee Lewis' early musical exploits. It makes sense that we are now starting a Soul Survivors Festival to honor this history."
As part of Soul Survivors Festival weekend, the award-winning Mississippi Blues Trail is crossing over into Ferriday for a special dedication.
"We really want to call attention to the importance that a town like Ferriday played back in the day for visiting Mississippi blues artists as well as national music acts," said Alex Thomas, Mississippi's Blues Trail director. "Ferriday was home to clubs like Haney's Big House which was part of the so-called 'Chitlin Circuit' and provided a stage for a who's who of touring African-American musicians. We're pleased to be honoring this legacy with our 'Mississippi to Louisiana' marker."
Mississippi Blues Trail writer/researcher Scott Barretta said one unique aspect about the trail is that it provides a history of places like Haney's Big House and "reshapes our thinking about the past and provides more understanding of how the blues operated."
He said the romantic images of the blues are of lone musicians "sitting on a ramshackle front porch singing and playing the guitar. That happened, but the fact is that men like Will Haney provided a structured environment for the blues and helped the music flourish."
The new Blues Trail marker will be officially dedicated on the lawn of Ferriday's Delta Music Museum at 12 noon Saturday with various state and local dignitaries on hand. Blues fans can find more information about the Blues Trail program on the web at www.msbluestrail.org.
In conjunction with the marker dedication, visitors are invited to tour the Delta Music Museum, which further highlights the area's musical history.
The Soul Survivors Festival scheduled musical events include performances by Fat Possum recording artist Hezekiah Early, Excello swamp-blues legend Jimmy Anderson, Natchez blues favorite YZ Ealey and Louisiana's own Lil Poochie. The line-up will be a snapshot of the region's living musical heritage.
In addition, there will be a number of family-oriented events, including special kids' activities, local art and more. Team GhostRiders will also be on hand with "an exhibition of monkeys riding dogs and herding sheep," said Polk.
"I first saw this amazing outfit perform at a Juke Joint Festival in Clarksdale, Miss.," remembered Polk. "Basically, the ringmaster is an ex-rodeo clown who trained tiny monkeys to ride border collies while herding sheep -- all by command. It's quite a show and tremendous fun for the whole family. It's sure to be a festival highlight."
Soul Survivors Festival sponsors include the Louisiana Department of Culture, Recreation & Tourism, Entergy, Marsala Beverage, Bryant Hammett & Associates, Concordia Bank, Delta Music Museum and the Town of Ferriday.
For more information on Saturday, May 22nd's Soul Survivors Festival in Ferriday go to www.ferridaysongfest.com.
|Frank Morris Murder Series|