This second annual music festival on November 9 & 10 at the Hancock County Fairgrounds kicks it up a notch this year with a stellar line-up of some of the region's favorite performers.
- story by Ellis Anderson
The festival takes place November 9th and 10th at the Hancock County Fairgrounds in Kiln, Mississippi (4184 Kiln-Deslisle Rd), just a few miles north of Bay St. Louis, a coastal town known for its lively arts scene. Organizers also point out the rural location is less than an hour’s drive from New Orleans.
That’s one reason that in addition to Samantha Fish, the lineup of performers features some of New Orleans’ most popular acts, including the Raw Oyster Cult – a jam band with four original members of the iconic Radiators. Other musicians hailing from the vibrant New Orleans music scene are Johnny Sketch & the Bandicoot 4, Dave Jordan and the NJA, Russel Batiste and Friends, Dana Abbot and the world beat group, Buku Broux.
Pat Murphy and ‘Sippiana Soul represent the coast, while another headliner act – the eight-piece Americana group, The Dustbowl Revival, is based in California. Night owls will be rocking to The Iceman Special and The Quickening with special late night shows, both Friday and Saturday.
Best of all, for music lovers who are the last to leave a party - they’re invited to spend the night. Primitive tent camping is included in the weekend ticket prices. For those who prefer a plusher experience, RV and camper hook-ups are available for a nominal additional fee.
RVs are even available for rent if you don’t have your own but love the idea of a weekend of a music fest with a family-friendly, countryside setting.
Sugar Magnolia producer, Michael Rosato, says that one of the festival’s most appealing attributes is the budget price. Early Bird weekend tickets are just $50 each. Early Bird RV/camping hook-up passes are $130 for the entire weekend – and include two festival weekend tickets.
“Fifty percent of people who attend these types of festivals camp out,” says Rosato. “The other fifty come for the day either as "day trippers," returning home at night or checking into a vacation rental or nearby hotel. We’ve got wonderful options for all.”
Gulf Coast cuisine available on-site this year includes Cajun shrimp remoulade, soft shell crab baskets, alligator sausage on a stick, bacon-wrapped shrimp, and an oyster bar, served up by seasoned New Orleans event chefs "Big Will and the Warden."
A local craft beer garden hosted by Abita, Chandelier Brewery and Southern Prohibition will be complimented with specialty libations from Kiln-Shine and Cathead Vodka. Booths with local artisans round out the event.
Rosato says he started small in 2017 to see if the concept would fly and to see how the county fairgrounds worked as a venue. The inaugural festival last year attracted only a few hundred people, but the enthusiastic response from both musicians and festival-goers was encouraging. Rosato plans to build the festival slowly, although he believes this year’s music line-up will give the event a big boost.
“Samantha Fish is electrifying,” Rosato says. “She’s a mind-blowing guitar player, songwriter, vocalist and performer. She's been headlining festivals across the U.S. this summer and winning awards, so we're beyond fortunate to have her. Anyone who makes it out here to see her will witness rock'n'roll history in the making."
Also new this year to the line-up is The Dust Bowl Revival, a nationally touring band originally from Ventura, California. The eight-piece group features both strings and brass and was recently named the "Best Dance Band in L.A." by L.A. Weekly. Rosato called them a genre-bending blend of "indie country, bluegrass, Southern rock and New Orleans swing."
“I saw them at a festival in Washington, DC two years ago and was blown away,” says Rosato. After seeing them perform at several other festivals, Rosato made it a priority to book the band for the Sugar Magnolia Fest.
"The Dust Bowl Revival exemplifies everthing a festival band should be," said Rosato. "Hot, spontaneous and most of all, a pleasure to dance to!"
Sugar Magnolia Festival advance ticket sales end October 10. Weekend passes and camping/RV spots can be purchased online here.
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