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Mississippi Delta Blues and Heritage Festival
mid September – Greenville, Mississippi
The Mississippi Delta Blues is globally recognized as one of the most America's important musical events.
The purpose of the Mississippi Delta Blues and Heritage Festival is to reach a worldwide audience with a celebration of the contributions the Mississippi Delta Blues culture has made to the American story - and to help preserve that culture.
A major catalyst for American popular culture, it exists in both a folk context and as a product of the commercial music industry. In the face of a historically brutal social experience, black folk in America affirmed their humanity by remembering and creating a rich expressive culture of poetry, tales, crafts, ritual, dance and music. This system embodied techniques of cultural transmission, transformation, adaptation and survival. Early Blues developed out of this rich fabric and cross-fertilized the work-songs, love-songs, slow drags, rags and spirituals. Delta Blues soon became the emotional and literary voice of black singers across the south.
Ironically, black and poor people from the Mississippi Delta, who gave the world the Blues, had limited access to traditional or contemporary institutional arts and cultural programming. The products of most rural peoples' art are inaccessible to them. They are housed in urban academic institutions and archives. They need to be preserved and showcased to larger general audiences as the legacy of a living culture.
While this art form was being celebrated internationally, the Delta region was still one of the poorest regions in the country. In 1976, Mississippi Action for Community Education, Inc. (MACE) saw the need to help create financing for educational programs and gave birth to the Delta Blues & Heritage Festival.
The success of the Delta Blues & Heritage Festival spurred the creation of festivals all over the Delta.
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