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It’s hard to decide what Mississippi does best. Is it food and historic sites, or is it scenic wilderness and beaches? While these are all shining examples of why Mississippi is on the map – other than separating Louisiana and Arkansas – music carries the weight around here.
Your attention is split between hot jazz and soul-crushing blues at all times. Follow the famed Mississippi Blues Trail, tour the legendary Mississippi Delta, or even visit Elvis Presley's birthplace in Tupelo. Stick around town for the Tupelo Elvis Festival in early June for the full experience.
Don't forget the Roots Music Concert in the Courtyard in Pass Christian, or the Mississippi Jazz & Heritage Festival touring central Mississippi in the summer months.
Of course, blues and jazz aren’t the only sounds to float through the warm, Mississippi air this summer. Check out the CelticFest Mississippi in Jackson at the end of the summer – where you can be sure to grasp yet another culture in the borders of the Magnolia State. Hear Celtic stories and music, shop the markets, and pack away as much boxty as you can handle.
You can even check out the Highway 61 Blues Festival in Leland to cap off the summer in September. At this point, summer in Mississippi should sound like (a wide variety of) music to your ears.
Wiggling Hips in Northern Mississippi
An annual commemoration to the King of Rock 'n' Roll, the Tupelo Elvis Festival is a pride of Tupelo and northern Mississippi.
The Tupelo Elvis Festival takes place in early summer, so be sure to slap on those blue suede shoes and head down to downtown Tupelo for this four-day festivity.
Don’t miss festival events like the Miss Tupelo Elvis Festival Pageant, or the Elvis Festival Parade, following the Elvis Look-A-Like Pet Parade. Make your way to the Historic Lyric Theatre for the annual Ultimate Elvis Tribute Artist competition, and live music at Tupelo’s Fairpark.
Other events include a 5K run, carnival midway, disc golf, and a shuttle to the Elvis Presley Birthplace provided by Tupelo Conventions & Visitors Bureau.
Blues on the Mississippi Delta
Set in central Mississippi, the Highway 61 Blues Festival is a small town celebration right on the Mississippi Delta.
Held in downtown Leland for over a decade, this blues festival is free to the public, with any proceeds going toward the neighboring Highway 61 Blues Museum.
Don’t miss the Highway 61 Blues Festival headliners such as Pat Thomas, Eddie Cusic, T-Model Ford, John Horton Band, and Lamar Thomas.
The music starts at noon, so be sure to grab a good seat in downtown Leland – where you’ll be surrounded by live blues music and stunning blues murals along Main Street by the Leland Blues Project.
West of Highway 61, Leland is less than 20 minutes from Indianola and less than an hour from Greenwood. Grab a souvenir from the museum's Highway 61 Blues Store.
Summer Music on the Mississippi Coast
What can make a concert on the beautiful Mississippi coast even better? How about the fact that it’s free?
Take the lawn chairs, the cooler and the family to the city of Pass Christian this summer for the Roots Music Concert in the Courtyard event. Catch some of the coastal breeze as you listen to Bruce Daigrepont Cajun Band in early June at the Pass Christian City Courtyard.
Just 10 miles west of Gulfport, and 23 miles west of Biloxi in southern Mississippi, the Roots Music Concert in the Courtyard event is fun for the whole family. Check the calendar for the upcoming exhibits and live music happenings of the summer.
After the show, get cozy at the Best Western hotel in Gulfport – just a 15-minute drive from Pass Christian – or visit other coastal cities such as Gautier and Moss Point. But no matter your choice, great music is sure to be found wherever you go in Mississippi this summer.
The Riverfest Music & Arts Festival is two days of regional music, blocks of handmade arts and crafts along the Mississippi River, music, and food in beautiful central Mississippi. Plan to be in downtown Vicksburg in April for this fun family event. Kids love the street performers, games, and activities.
Everyone enjoys GospelFest, as well as the live bands on stage each evening from 7 p.m. to 12 a.m. The free parking during the event is a nice bonus, while Riverfest tickets are available in several area businesses.
Touring the Mississippi Delta in Style
Something else is touring central Mississippi along with you – the Mississippi Jazz & Heritage Festival.
Happening in early September, this annual celebration of music and history is trekking through central Mississippi cities like Indianola, Shelby and Greenwood. The festival is free, but donations are appreciated.
Each Mississippi Delta city is important to the heritage of jazz and blues. Indianola is the hometown of blues legend B.B. King, while Greenville is the birthplace of famed trombonist Leon "Pee Wee" Whittaker.
Greenwood sits along the Mississippi Blues Trail, while Shelby was the hometown of musicians Henry Townsend, Gerald Wilson and Mississippi Slim.
Check out the tour dates, and see when you’ll be catching at the Mississippi Jazz & Heritage Festival this summer.