2019 Delta Magazine’s Annual Tourism Guide
It’s no secret the Mississippi Delta is credited as being the birth place of American music, and it is a magnet for music lovers from all walks of life. The Delta does not disappoint with opportunities to hear abundant live music in our network of small towns. Our 2019 Tourism Guide shares some of these local hot spots where the music is live, and the authentic sounds of the Delta can be heard. Study our Spring Festival Calendar, and if you attend one in Clarksdale, book a room at one of the many funky places you will read about. Our Delta Detours and Tourism advertising section offers up even more cool things to do in towns across the region. Then, if you want to venture a little further north, spend a weekend rediscovering Memphis! It is revitalized, refurbished and offers an incredible array of new things to do, see, eat and drink!
Hey Joe’s is a community favorite and has become a noted Delta venue for alternative and original music. Since 2009, Hey Joe’s has remained committed to these three day-to-day constants: qualityfood,craftbeer,andoriginal live music. Popular with young professionals, local Teach For America Transplants (who bring an eclectic vibe) and the college crowd, Hey Joe’s is known to feature artists with an indie/folksy vibe and has even helped launch several bands into popularity such as, The Weeks. Bandsfromallgenreshavetakenthe stage at this eccentric, hip establishment. Check out their huge covered patio and balcony or chill inside on Trivia night. Business hours are listed as 11 am to 9 pm, Monday through Saturday. Visit their website for a schedule of live music and events.
118 East Sunflower Road, Cleveland (662) 843-5425
Just north of the city limits of Cleveland, this local dive, reminiscent of a country store and filled with antiques, collectibles and a homey atmosphere is hopping with local live music most weekends. Boasting a full bar and a menu loaded with mouthwatering food of all kinds including fantastic barbeque, Airport delivers the whole package to locals and travelers passing through. Open Monday through Saturday from 11 am to 10 pm and Sunday from5pmto9pm.
3608 Highway 61 N, Cleveland (662) 843-4817
The Bologna Performing Arts Center (BPAC)
One of the premier theaters in the southeast, the Bologna Performing Arts Center offers a wide array of entertainment, music and broadway shows. Located on the Delta State University campus, this stunning state-of-the- art venue presents seasonal line up that rivals any big-city theater. The facility was also built to offer a rich tapestry of cultural and educational programs to serve the entire Mississippi Delta. Under the direction of Laura Howell, the 2018-2019 season boasted Boz Scaggs, Kinky Boots, and the Beach Boys. So be sure to check this one out!
1003 West Sunflower Road, Cleveland (662) 846-4625
GRAMMY Museum® Mississippi
The GRAMMY Museum® Mississippi is one of only two in existence. Experience the Museum’s fabulous exhibits, which have featured musical acts including, Taylor Swift, The Beatles, Stevie Ray Vaughn, and The Supremes or enter the Sanders Sound stage for an intimate music experience with local artists as well as notable performers, that have included Peter Frampton, Elvis’s guitarist James Burton, Tony Joe White, and Roger Fisher of Heart. To find out who is playing next, visit their website.
800 West Sunflower Road, Cleveland (662) 441-0100
Ground Zero Blues Club
Showcasing the best of today’s Delta Blues musicians, visitors to Ground Zero will find the “real deal” musicians who live in the Mississippi Delta and continue in the tradition of their musical forefathers. Although GZBC, co-owned by local attorney and businessman, Bill Luckett and Academy Award-winning actor and Mississippi Delta resident, Morgan Freeman, has received significant national media coverage and recognition as one of the top Live Music Clubs in the nation and world, it remains a local favorite and has not lost its small-town vibe. With a full bar and a “down home” menu featuring juicy hamburgers, fried catfish and slow-cooked pork barbecue, Ground Zero has it all. Be sure to join the thousands and sign your name on the wall, furniture or bathroom stall before the night is over!
387 Delta Avenue, Clarksdale (662) 621-9009
Red’s Blues Club
Described as a lounge, dance and night club, Red’s is located in Clarksdale in the original Levine’s Music Center building, where Ike Turner and his Kings of Rhythm once played. Red’s is a MUST for any serious blues lover traveling through the Mississippi Delta. This intimate juke features regular live music on Wednesdays at 8 pm, Friday and Saturday at 9pm, Sunday at 7 pm, and occasionally on Thursdays. For a small cover charge (cash only) enjoy authentic blues music, and grab a beer, (but BYO spirits and wine) and if you’re lucky they may be grilling some BBQ which is sold street-side.
395 Sunflower Avenue, Clarksdale (662) 627-3166
The dining and drinking experience at Levon’s could easily fit into the New Orleans scene. With a varied menu and impressive craft cocktails, Levon’s is truly a dining destination. Add to that live music several nights of the week and their ever poplar “Sunday Ramble” which has fast become the place to be for locals and visitors alike, especially when weather permits. Customers enjoy live music while mingling both inside and out with friends.
232 Sunflower Avenue, Clarksdale (662) 302-6474
Uniquely housed in an old plantation commissary east of Clarksdale, Hopson’s is a time capsule filled with antiques and artifacts that showcases the nostalgia and history of the area. Hopson’s has been a favorite on the Delta music scene for years and offers a Monday evening, acoustic, “comin’-down-easy” from the weekend, musical experience thanks to local musicians such as Marshall Drew, Gramm Phillips and Seth Stroud beginning at 6 pm. This is often accompanied by a delicious pot of “something” owners James and Cathy Butler have whipped up. A favorite party venue, there is also often live music on Fridays and Saturdays.
Commissary Circle Road, Clarksdale (662) 624-5756
The Juke Joint Chapel
(Shack Up Inn)
On the premises of the legendary Shack Up Inn sits the Juke Joint Chapel. A magnet for blues and roots music fans, one will find a laid back restaurant along with authentic live entertainment. This former cotton gin is something to see. The cavernous structure with vaulted ceilings is a visual treat, full of eclectic and funky art and unusual relics including a huge model of an old airplane which hangs upside down over the main stage. There is a long list of notable musicians who have played at the chapel including Elvis Costello, Robert Plant and Tom Waits, but whether you love Blues or Americana music, this is your place. Live music is typically Friday and Saturday at 7 pm during dinner but can vary throughout the week with unexpected musicians.
1 Commissary Circle, Clarksdale (662) 624-8329
Live music pulls in a crowd every weekend at this popular venue. People from all over enjoy not only the entertainment but some of the best steak and seafood in the area. Crawdad`s is a regional mainstay in the iconic small town of Merigold, home of McCarty pottery. There is plenty of seating, private nooks, and a popular bar area. The recently expanded porch provides private venue space as well.
104 South Park Street, Merigold (662) 748-2441
The Blue Front Cafe
Considered the oldest active juke joint in Mississippi, this authentic Mississippi Delta “juke joint” is where the world-famous original Bentonia Blues was born and can still be heard. The cafe’ was opened in 1948 by Carey and Mary Holmes, an African American couple from Bentonia. Their son, blues musician Jimmy “Duck” Holmes, runs the historic venue to this day and now there is a Mississippi Blues Trail Marker out front. This laid-back casual blues endeavor is an essential part of the Mississippi Blues trail.
107 East Railroad Avenue, Bentonia (662) 763-5306
@bluefrontcafe blues • visityazoo.org
The Blue Biscuit
Located right across the street from the BB King Blues Museum in Indianola, The Blue Biscuit and Blue Biscuit Bungalows are also in the middle of Indianola’s Historic District and within an hour of more than two dozen important blues and cultural sites. Try their burgers, poboys, fried green tomatoes and other casual dishes while you enjoy live music on selected nights.
501 Second Street, Indianola (662) 645-0258
Walnut Street Blues Bar
In 2018, Clarksdale was named the #1 music city outside of Nashville in the U.S. by Fodor’s Travel. If you’re looking for a vibrant nightlife in the heart of Greenville, you can’t miss the Walnut Street Blues Bar. This popular late night venue has live music music most nights and has become a well-known attraction to those of the local vicinity as well as traveling lovers of the blues and great food.
128 S. Walnut Street, Greenville
@walnutstreetbluesbar • highway61blues.com