The first Soul Survivors Festival was held in Ferriday three years ago in tandem with the placement of a Mississippi Blues Trail marker honoring Haney’s Big House, a major venue on the chitlin’ circuit from the mid-’40s to the mid-’60s. It was the biggest blues/R&B club in the Natchez-Ferriday area, and house bands included those led by YZ Ealey and Hezekiah Early, both of whom are playing at the festival — Hezekiah, along with Lil’ Poochie and Elmo Williams, is featured in the new documentary We Juke Up In Here, which focuses on Red’s juke joint in Clarksdale.
This year’s event will include the dedication of the new Will Haney Music Hall, an $800,000 project that will hopefully enliven downtown Ferriday. Here’s an article about the Hall in the Natchez Democrat.
I went to the inaugural festival, which was a very laid-back affair. It’s a great excuse to visit the Natchez area, and Ferriday is also home to the Delta Music Museum, which has exhibits on locals including Jerry Lee Lewis. I didn’t know that Angola Prison had a band, and that sounds like a good reason alone to make the trip.
At Jerry Lee Lewis’ Rockabilly Plaza
11:00 – 11:45 Sylvia Johns Richie and Crew
11:45 – 12:15 Nathan Shell
12:30 – 1:45 Hezekiah Early and Lil’ Poochie
2:00 – 3:15 Hezekiah Early and Elmo Williams
3:30 – 4:45 The YZ Ealey Band
5:00 – 6:30 The Angola Prison Band
6:60 – 7:00 Award Presentation, Autograph signing and Photo Op Close of Soul Survivors
At the Will Haney Big House Music Hall
Mayor’s Welcome and Ribbon cutting for the Will Haney Music Hall, Jerry Lee Lewis Rockabilly Plaza, Concordia Hotel and the unveiling of Will Haney Circle and Jerry Lee Lewis Blvd.
7:30 – 9:30
Easy Eddie and the Party Rockers Street Dance at Music Hall Stage