The Mothers’ Day Weekend is a traditional time for a lot of blues and Southern Soul festivals in the Holly Springs, Mississippi area, and this year there were two conflicting festivals, one with O. B. Buchana as the headliner out on the Wall Hill Road in western Marshall County, and the other featuring Willie Clayton, King George and Calvin Richardson at the football stadium in Sam Coopwood Park in Holly Springs.
The stadium show seemed to be the bigger of the two, with nearly every inch of the football field taken up with the stage, vendors and tents. Those who rented tent space could bring in barbecue grills and coolers, and the event had the vibe of a HBCU classic or homecoming tailgate, all the more so since it was taking place in a stadium. A crowd of several thousand gathered to eat, dance, drink and party to great Southern Soul artists. Unfortunately, despite there being instruments on stage, some of the acts chose to perform only to tracks, which was surprising given the price of tickets for the event, and the opening acts, while talented, were not all that well-known, with the exception of Cassie Bonner, who frequently performs in Holly Springs, and who played keyboards as he sang, backed by his drummer. A special mention has to be made of one of the new artists, Justin, who apparently is from North Carolina. Although he performed to a track, he is a consummate showman, and commanded the early afternoon crowd on the lawn in front of the stage by jumping down and performing in the crowd, grabbing two young women and tucking them under each of his arms. He is undoubtedly an artist we will be hearing more from.
In addition to fans on the field in the tents and in front of the stage, there were fans in the stands as well, and even some in tents and RV’s parked up at the parking lot level above the stadium. Despite the huge numbers who attended, there were no untoward incidents, just great fun and good music.