COLUMBUS: Blues for Willie Festival

Tonight, the arts council’s annual Blues for Willie Festival launchesthree days of “hot Mississippi blues” in honor of the Prairie Pointnative’s legacy.

Music historian, author and radio host Scott Barretta kicks off thefestival this evening with a 7 p.m. talk about musicians who have earnedthe state the title “Birthplace of America’s Music.” The freeMississippi Writers’ Series program in the Rosenzweig Arts Center’sOmnova Theater follows a 5:30-7 p.m. reception opening March galleryexhibits. The reception and talk are open to the public.

Friday and Saturday concerts spotlight the music of Eden Brent, VastiJackson and the Stormy Monday band. Greenville’s Brent, a winner of theBlues Foundation’s Acoustic Artist and Acoustic Album of the Yearawards, performs at 7:30 p.m. Friday. Jackson goes on stage at 7 p.m.Saturday with music from “The Soul of Jimmie Rodgers,” his 2016Grammy-nominated album. Hailing from McComb, Jackson has a fiery guitarstyle that earned him a 2015 Albert King Lifetime Guitar award. StormyMonday, based out of Starkville, go on at 8:30 p.m. 

“Blues for Willie is just what it says,” said Beverly Norris, artscouncil program manager. “Those of us who knew and loved him know him asa great example of the powerful Mississippi blues tradition. It’s anhonor to pay tribute to him with this festival.”

Atthe arts council at 501 Main St., at columbus-arts.org or by calling662-328-2787.