Heritage Foundation Blues & Gospel Festival

Heritage Foundation Blues & Gospel Festival
Heritage Foundation Blues & Gospel Festival

Heritage Foundation Blues & Gospel Festival
Leah Williams

A weekend dedicated to the blues returns with the Fourth Annual Cairo Heritage Foundation Blues and Gospel Festival in downtown Cairo. The free musical showcase begins Friday, September 8 and continues until Sunday, September 10.

“We wanted the blues,” said Cairo Heritage Foundation member Suzy Holland. “Everyone who played with us last year has come back again this year. The only exception is Joey Odum, who is someone we added this year.”

The festival begins at 4 p.m. Friday with Odum, followed by the Cairo-based group The Phonics and Chris Canas. Canas, who is based out of Ann Arbor, Michigan., had also previously performed at a Sunset Concert in Carbondale in 2015.

Saturday begins with a parade, which has a theme titled “Hope and Harmony for Cairo.” The parade begins at 11 a.m. and there will be trophies awarded for the best floats. Holland said the event will include several patriotic participants including a large American flag.

“We tend to go with a 9/11 theme,” Holland said. “It’s something to see. I can hardly watch the parade without crying.”

Saturday’s musical set starts with the 144th Army Band followed by the Riss House Band.

“Riss House played with Buddy Guy,” she said. “We are so glad he could come back again.”

Other performers for Saturday include Scott Holt, Low Dog Band and Sweet Angel Band. Sweet Angel is based out of Memphis, Tenn., and she has just released her album Can’t Walk Away earlier this year.

Holland said Angel is a talented saxophone player who has been known to have some sexual innuendo.

“We decided to put her on later with Low Dog for those who might like a little R-rated like show,” she said.

Sunday is a day set aside for gospel music, with many local groups coming together. The gospel showcase runs from 3 to 6 p.m.

The Cairo Heritage Foundation is dedicated to showcasing the historical roots of the beauty and the arts. Holland said the annual Blues and Gospel Festival brings in between 300 and 400 guests for a weekend of music.

“I think we have 26 vendors this year,” Holland said. “It just keeps getting bigger and better every year, and next year we are really going to go all out for our fifth anniversary. So, feel free to come on out to Cairo. It’s one highlight we have for our little town.”