Meridian Star


May 5, 2013

Letters to the Editor May 5, 2013



Open letter to citizens of Meridian and Lauderdale County

    Please consider this your special personal invitation to get involved with The Jimmie Rodgers Festival!

     May 2013 marks the 60th anniversary of the festival. This long standing popular event needs your help!  You are needed as a supporter through your moral support, your attendance and if possible your financial support.

    Known as “the stage of legends” the festival is produced by the Jimmie Rodgers Foundation with help from many other individuals, organizations and entities but we need more to be actively engaged as supporters.

    Thanks to our sponsors and friends. You help us keep the museum open and the festival a reality.

    The legacy of Jimmie Rodgers is the most prominent factor in the history of our area and is surely the ripest resource for cultural tourism in our city and state. The Creative Economy in Mississippi developed by the Mississippi Economic Council and The Mississippi Arts Commission has proclaimed Jimmie Rodgers one of the three music icons from our state and encourages us to embrace the opportunities our native son brings to us for cultural tourism and ultimately economic development. Indianola and Tupelo are reaping wonderful economic results from their engagement in B. B. King and Elvis Presley.

    Meridian and Lauderdale  County needs to step up to the plate and help Jimmie Rodgers achieve economic success with the treasure that has been a gift to us through being recognized as “Jimmie’s Home.” The festival (since 1953) and The Jimmie Rodgers Museum (in operation since 1976) are the best and probably the only opportunities for Meridian/Lauderdale County to become a year round tourism destination.

    The festival was founded by Ernest Tubb and Hank Snow in 1953 with the help of local citizens. During the years the festival grew to be an outstanding event attracting music legends from all over the world as well as thousands of music and history lovers. We are endeavoring to take the festival back to its glory days!

    We have planned a fantastic festival this year!. We are producing  great events to promote our mission of perpetuating the memory of Meridian’s native son, Jimmie Rodgers, “the Father of Country Music,” providing affordable entertainment for our citizens and focusing on insuring that Meridian is recognized as the home of Jimmie Rodgers and the Birthplace of American Music. We have in place a variety of events which should attract a variety of attendees and age groups to a three day festival in downtown Meridian.  

    However, our most dedicated efforts are all in vain if you “Mr. or Mrs. Meridian or Lauderdale County Citizen” do not support the festival by purchasing tickets, verbally supporting the festival, making donations to the production of the festival (venues, artists and promotion). All of this  costs big bucks and we need your help.

    Please do not turn a deaf ear to the coming festival! It is not something that happens overnight without commitment from the community which has so much to gain from supporting it. The success of the past was due to commitment of businesses, individuals and organizations and that is needed even more now!

    May 16 is the kickoff for the Festival 2013! Dumont Plaza will be filled with Roots n Blues as country music star and Meridian native Moe Bandy salutes Jimmie Rodgers and the festival.

    Also performing will be Britt Gully and his company of musicians, The All Night Long Blues Band and Jimmy Duck Holmes. Admission is $5. Delicious food and beverages will be available. Bring your lawn chair or blanket and enjoy a great night of music.

    May 17 provides a Music Symposium at 2 p.m., featuring Jimmie Rodgers Snow, Barry Mazor, Ken Rainey and Scott Baretta. The MSU Riley Center salutes Jimmie Rodgers  by presenting in concert The Timejumpers and Vince Gill at 7:30 p.m.  Meridian will rock at Juke Joint Night hosted by Faces, Echo, Rythym & Brews and Brickhouse.

    May 18 is a full day and night of music and activities beginning with the Talent Competition at 8 a.m. at Singing Brakeman Park and the day includes arts and crafts show, car show, children’s activities, a parade and lots of good food and drink. Jimmie’s Jam will kick off at 5 p.m. featuring Rodney Atkins, Blue Mother Tupelo, Betsy Badwater and Trademark. Tickets are $12.50 in advance and $18 day of show. Tickets are available at, The Jimmie Rodgers Museum and Southern Sportsman.

    The Jimmie Rodgers Festival has planned three great days of music just for you!

    What an array of talent and entertainment! Something for everyone but most especially for YOU. Have you made your plans yet? Have you purchased your tickets yet? Have you announced a new commitment to support your hometown and hometown festival with your support? YOU hold the future of The Jimmie Rodgers Festival in your hands. Will YOU do your part?  

    YOU  can make a difference! You will have fun!! Our community will be better for it! As Jimmie would say: “Thanks!"

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