9th annual Blues and Heritage Festival adds something new

Published 7:00 am Thursday, October 13, 2016

For the ninth year in a row, Picayune Main Street presents the Blues and Heritage Festival, which is full of performances from local artists and fun for all around the area.

However, this year will present something new.

“This year, we are hosting an Invitational Vocal Showcase,” Picayune Main Street Director Reba Beebe said. “We are honored to have these talented contestants showcase the hidden talent that we have in our community.”

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The invitational vocal showcase contestants—including Miriam Howell, Kamryn Kinchen, Averi Barnes and Hailey Rose—were chosen out of large pool of applicants to perform at not only the festival, but at the V.I.P. party as well.

“We have been wanting to do this showcase for a number of years, but never got to finalize it. We have so much young talent in our community. They blew Vince and I out of the water with their submissions. It was not easy picking who the contestants were going to be,” Beebe said.

Beebe said that Vince Vance, a popular entertainer from the New Orleans area, first performed a show in the Picayune area a couple of years ago and was amazed by the talent the community has, calling it a “diamond in the rough.” In fact, two Picayune locals are part of Vance’s show as starlets, Alyssa Jade Hill and Jamie Thornhill Thompson, Beebe said.

“Our community, and quite honestly the rest of the world, needs to experience and see the talent we have in our community. It is honestly breath-taking how much artistic talent we have here,” Beebe said.

The Blues and Heritage Festival V.I.P. party, which includes the invitational vocal showcase, is on Oct. 13 at 6 p.m. and will be held at Southern Char Steakhouse at 210 West Canal Street. Admission is $50.

On Oct. 22 from 3-9 p.m., the Annual Blues and Heritage Festival takes place at the downtown block party on West Canal Street in Picayune. The vocal showcase contestants will perform at both events.

To get the festival started, Southern Sound, a local band led by Gary Wilton, lead singer and Picayune Police officer, will play from 3:10-4 p.m. and again from 4:15-5 p.m., Beebe said.

Mississippi Senior America Pageant Director, Bonnie Hughes will then introduce the former pageant winners. Participants of the festival can also experience the parade of classic cars on Goodyear Boulevard. Following the iconic parade, another talented local artist Sarah Unbehagen will perform.

At 6:15 p.m. Vance will take the stage, featuring Sweet Lillie Madison.

“Vince Vance never disappoints with his performances and is a great contributor to this festival. He knocks everyone’s socks off every year and we are excited for what he has in store for us this year,” Beebe said.

After his hour long show, the invitational showcase contestants will perform and awards, as well as cash scholarships, will be given to the winners.

To wrap up the event, Vance will perform once again with Al “Carnival Time” Johnson.

“I want to share with the world the talent we have here in the community,” Beebe said. “I hope it helps them branch out and be able to expose the rest of the world to their unique talents. We are a diamond in the rough and I only wish the best for them because they are all so talented.”

Questions about the V.I.P. party or the festival can be directed to the Picayune Main Street office at (601) 799-3070.