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Delta Symposium XVIII: Roots and Generations presents the Roots Music Festival April 21 at City Water and Light Park


Radio station KASU, the Arkansas Folklife Program, and ASU's Department of English and Philosophy are teaming up with the West End Neighborhood Association to present a Roots Music Festival on Saturday, April 21, as a part of Arkansas State University’s Delta Symposium XVIII: Roots and Generations. The Roots Music Festival will be held at Jonesboro’s City Water and Light Park, 1123 S. Culberhouse Street. Music begins at 12 noon, and in case of rain, the festival will move to The Arts@311, located at 311 S. Church Street, Jonesboro. Rain or shine, the event will feature an array of music including blues, Mississippi hill country fifing, country, and rockabilly. The Roots Music Festival, like all Delta Symposium XVIII events, is free, and the public is invited.

The morning’s events begin with a 10 a.m. screening of Dyann Arthur's film “Americana Women: Roots Musicians/Women's Tales and Tunes” in the Round Room of the Craighead County Jonesboro Public Library, at 315 W. Oak. At 10:45 a.m., Northeast Arkansas American Institute of Architects (AIA) members will lead an architectural walking tour of Jonesboro’s West End neighborhood. Design professionals and architects Libii Fairhead, Jim Little, and John Mixon will meet those taking the tour at the Craighead County Jonesboro Public Library to provide a tour of significant buildings in Jonesboro. 

At 12 noon, a blues and roots music showcase performance will open the show. Musicians from around the area will play music in a range of regional styles. Musicians are also welcome to attend a pre-event musical jam session and open-mike session at the park.

The afternoon's entertainment continues with a special appearance by the Rising Star Fife and Drum Band from Sardis, Mississippi,at 1:15 p.m. Led by Sharde Thomas, this band carries on the legacy of African-American fife music with deep Southern roots. Thomas is the granddaughter of the music legend, Othar Turner, and their music has been featured in documentary films, recordings, and festivals around the world.

David Lynn Jones and Friends will take the stage at 2:15 p.m. An Arkansas native, Jones is a prolific singer and songwriter. In addition to charting with his own recordings on Billboard's Hot Country Singles, Jones has wrote the number-one hit, “Living in the Promiseland” that Willie Nelson released in 1986.

At 3:30 p.m., Jimbo Mathus and the Tri-State Coalition will close out the afternoon of music with a set of blues, rockabilly, rock ‘n’ roll, and Americana roots music. Mathus is known as a creative recording artist, and with Tri-State Coalition, has recently released the album "Confederate Buddha” on Memphis International Records. He has performed with numerous musical blues acts, including Buddy Guy and Jim Dickinson, as well as with his own band, the Squirrel Nut Zippers.

The Delta Symposium has been coordinated by ASU’s English and Philosophy Department for the past seventeen years. The Roots Music Festival is one of several events, and this year’s program begins on Wednesday April 18, at the Carl R. Reng Student Union. For an overview of this year’s programming, see the general release for Delta Symposium XVIII: Roots and Generations online, or call Dr. Gregory Hansen at (870) 972-3043. The symposium is supported in part by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, and all events are free and open to the public. Further information is available by contacting the Delta Symposium Committee or by checking the Delta Symposium homepage or visiting the Delta Symposium on Facebook.