Mississippi Delta Blues Festival, 1981. Three: The Performers.

Mississippi Delta Blues Festival, 1981. Three: The Performers.

Photos taken by DC Young at Freedom Village, the site of the 1981 Mississippi Delta Blues Festival organized by MACE, Mississippi Action for Community Education.

For the first install meant of this series, Click Here. Go here for part two, The Scene.Or go to the Category Delta Blues on the masthead above.

Othar Turner, one of the last leaders of a fife and drum band—music which inspired music that became the blues–opened the festival by parading onto the site.

Carla Thomas emceed the festival.

Eugene Powell, who recorded as Sonny Boy Nelson on his earliest records in the 1930s, later had a great influence during the blues revival beginning in the 1960s.

James “Son” Thomas lived in Leland and performed at blues festivals and made several albums.

Buckwheat Zydeco brought a south Louisiana flavor to the festival.

As the day wore on, everyone was anticipating the appearance of Muddy Waters as the final performer. His performance was a history-making event which nobody wanted to miss. Unfortunately, he was late arriving, having been delayed by a reception in his honor at the Governor’s Mansion in Jackson, two hundred miles away. But that’s another story, which will be told in the final installment, part four.


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