Ken Lund

photo: Ken Lund

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Overview

The Mississippi Delta follows the Mississippi River and Hwy 61 for 250 miles from Memphis (TN) to Vicksburg (MS). It was here, in one of the most rural, poor parts of the country, that the blues began. Often considered the root of all American music, the Blues was born in the cotton fields of this fertile-rich alluvial plain, where African American slaves toiled the fields under the scorching sun. Accompanied by the harmonica or a lone guitar, the slaves' children and grandchildren turned levee songs and oral histories into aching, jubilant, sorrowful Blues. Anyone wanting to pay homage to this history will find plenty of opportunity in the ...

The Mississippi Delta follows the Mississippi River and Hwy 61 for 250 miles from Memphis (TN) to Vicksburg (MS). It was here, in one of the most rural, poor parts of the country, that the blues began. Often considered the root of all American music, the Blues was born in the cotton fields of this fertile-rich alluvial plain, where African American slaves toiled the fields under the scorching sun. Accompanied by the harmonica or a lone guitar, the slaves' children and grandchildren turned levee songs and oral histories into aching, jubilant, sorrowful Blues. Anyone wanting to pay homage to this history will find plenty of opportunity in the Delta's tiny juke joints and festivals, in small dusty towns where it seems time has stood still. Here you find shuttered-up shops, shacks, and people standing around sipping beers in paper bags, but always there's music. Clarksdale, the "Home of the Delta Blues" has the excellent Delta Blues Museum and Sunflower River Blues & Gospel Festival.

Debra Landau
About the Expert

Debra Landau has written eight Lonely Planet guidebooks, including books on the USA, Caribbean, and the South.

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Facts at a Glance

  • Location: The Mississippi Delta is the distinct northwest section of the state of Mississippi that lies between the Mississippi and Yazoo Rivers.
  • Research: Wikipedia | Wikitravel
  • Weather: Rainfall | Daylight

Climate

  • Best Time to Visit:

    Most of the festivals take place during spring and summer, from April to September.