After cryptic statements here and there and word of a return to New York, Fondren's First Thursday founder Ron Chane announced that his monthly event would be back in Fondren once more, though rumors of its demise weren't entirely unfounded.
Chane, who also owns local businesses Studio Chane, Swell-O-Phonic and Soma Wilai, took to Facebook to tell the event's many attendees that FFT will be reinstated starting March 3 and will continue each month through December 1.
"A new monster is coming," he wrote.
"54 days ago, things were left in limbo. The load of running the event was bearing, and the need for support was eminent. Leaving FFT as a cliff-hanger was intentional as strategy, as well as not knowing for sure it would return (without community help). We proved it could be revived and thrive. The new challenge was to build it around community involvement with shared ideas.
"Hence, the future of a new FFT is now. We have divided the district into four main zones: Duling, Fondren Plaza, State Street and the Capri Strip. The hybrid energy of shared decisions in each zone will now fuel the ever-changing shape of the event. Zones will make their own decisions on activities, music, vendors, food, etc. This will take the load off for us, allowing FFT itself to focus on the PR and creative direction so necessary to offer you an out-of-the-box experience. We will still stand for the same platform of offering a positive night of neutrality and equal community without political, religious or social activism. The same community-conscious rules will apply for music, vendors, etc.
"We ask that our supporters please be patient as we put the finishing touches on the structure, protocol, etc. We are not open quite yet. Our FFT.city site will resurface with new information and direction next Friday February 5th by noon. All inquiries will then be greeted with an auto-reply that points you to the link necessary. Two-way communication will start at that point.
"FFT will now go all months March 3rd - December 1st (including July 7th) and will remain 5pm until. The event will focus more heavily on the arts now. Vendors will still be represented, now on a rotating basis due to increased activities and available spacing.
"I still plan to focus on split-timing in Brooklyn, N.Y., as a source of pursuing creative ventures and creative inspiration both for myself and the event. As stated before, we will soon play again as less than perfect adults (kids, dogs, community lovers, corporation-haters, weirdos, creative liberal minded scarf wearing types, etc.)."
"Thanks again for reading long posts with bad grammar and misspelled words and for supporting unrealistic ideas."
From its industry panels to artist showcases, the team behind the first Jackson Indie Music Week, which ran Jan. 11 through Jan. 17, wanted the festival to recognize the talent and achievements already active in the capital city. Of course, nothing things says “recognition” like a shelf full of trophies, so JIMW was happy to oblige with the Jackson Indie ICON Awards on Thursday, Jan. 14.
The award show took place at Duling Hall and was a tribute to four of Jackson’s music-industry trailblazers: Freddie Young, Arden Barnett, Charlie Braxton and Bebop Record Shop owner Drake Elder.
Young has produced a variety of albums for Jackson hip-hop and R&B artists and was a big player in the local music scene in the 1970s, providing lead vocals for the funk act Sho-Nuff, which featured an ensemble of Jackson music stars, including bassist Sky Chambers, who presented the award alongside Bridget Archer of “Soul Train” and Jackson State University J-sette fame.
Barnett is the show promoter behind entertainment company Ardenland, who also appeared on JIMW’s “Do the Knowledge” panel where he discussed his philosophy on booking events. Ardenland mostly brings national touring acts, which has caused some to question why the company doesn’t do more for local acts. There are already great venues for local artists, he said at the panel, but he saw a niche and knew he could fill it.
Braxton, a McComb native, is an author, poet and music journalist best known for his various high-profile stories for hip-hop music publications such as The Source, Vibe and Murder Dog. In his articles, he often discusses the cultural impact of artists including OutKast and Notorious B.I.G. as much as the elements that made them singularly influential in the music world.
Elder’s name was a surprise addition to the proceedings—JIMW organizers had announced the other award recipients prior to the event—but given his legacy and deep connection to the local scene, his inclusion was more than welcomed. When the owner of the now-closed Bebop Record Shop died on Aug. 14, 2015, at age 62, friends, family and music lovers across Jackson mourned his loss and celebrated his commitment to music. Fellow ICON Award winner Barnett even held a memorial concert at Duling Hall on Aug. 19.
Despite somewhat of a rough start, the "Do the Knowledge" panel, one of the first major events for the inaugural Jackson Indie Music Week, delivered some useful advice for music-industry hopefuls.
If you totally spaced and forgot to attend the grand opening of the Grammy Museum of Mississippi in Cleveland, originally proposed for early this fall, don't worry. There's always next year.
Earlier this month, the museum’s board of directors announced that the state-of-the-art, 27,000-square-foot facility on the campus of Delta State University would not be ready for visitors in September as expected. By Tuesday, Sept. 22, they had settled on its new grand-opening weekend, March 5 and 6, 2016.
“The intricate details of the exhibits themselves are very complex and involve multiple-process phases from start to finish,” Lucy Janoush, president of the Grammy Museum Mississippi Board of Directors, said in a press release. “In order to make this project the showcase it should be, consultants and contractors need more time to finish the exhibit.”
Plans for the Grammy Museum Mississippi, the first satellite site of the Grammy Museum at L.A. Live in Los Angeles, began in 2009, when Mayor Billy Nowell and the Cleveland Chamber of Commerce approached Allan Hammons of Hammon & Associates advertising firm about developing a music museum akin to the B. B. King Museum in Indianola, which Hammons helped design and coordinate as its interim executive director.
Hammons eventually led the charge in approaching the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences about building a sister site to the Los Angeles Grammy Museum, which opened in 2008.
For more information on the museum's process from concept to near-completion, read the Jackson Free Press’ cover story, "Follow the Gold-Record Road: Creating the Grammy Museum Mississippi," from March 18, 2015.
Acclaimed singer-songwriter Steve Earle is the latest voice to join the flag debate, though his voice comes in the form of a good-old-fashioned protest song. On the track, titled "Mississippi, It's Time," the Virginia-born musician denounces the Confederate battle emblem's position on the Mississippi state flag, which has been a point of contention yet again following a white-supremacist gunman's slaying of nine African Americans at Emanuel A.M.E. Church in Charleston, S.C., on June 17.
“I grew up in the South and lived there until I was 50, and I know that I’m not the only southerner who never believed for one second that the Confederate battle flag is symbolic of anything but racism in anything like a modern context,” Steve Earle said in a press release. “This is about giving those southerners a voice.”
Earle and his band, the Dukes, release the song for download on iTunes this Friday, Sept. 11, with all proceeds going to the Southern Poverty Law Center. The lyrics feature a number of powerful and to-the-point phrases, such as, Mississippi, don't you reckon it's time that the flag came down because the world turned 'round? We can't move ahead if we're looking behind," and "I wish I was in a land that never held a soul in bondage ever. I wouldn't have to drag these chains behind. Mississippi, it's time."
Near the track's close, though, Earle trades any semblance of metaphor for blunt outrage: "What the hell, Mississippi? Mississippi, you're out of your mind. Mississippi, God d***, even Alabama and South Carolina (have) come across the line."
As people from without and within the state push for the removal of the Confederate flag—and the dark ideals it represents—the decision ultimately rests with state lawmakers who can't seem to come to an agreement.
Earle, a pupil of famed songwriters Townes Van Zandt and Guy Clark, has had countless hits on the country music charts, both from his own releases, such as his debut record, 1986's "Guitar Town," and from hits for legends like Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings and Emmylou Harris.
Visit Southern Poverty Law Center's website to listen to "Mississippi, It's Time."
Here are the dates for the performances for this year's state fair.
October 1- Thompson Square
October 2- Ginuwine
October 3- Blue Oyster Cult
October 4- Rhythm & Blues Event: King Edward
October 6- Hinder
October 7- Marshall Tucker Band
October 8- The Charlie Daniels Band
October 9- The Spinners
October 10- Texas Country Showdown – Midway – Free
October 11- Country Rock: Acoustic Crossroads (pavilion) & Brantley Gilbert (coliseum)
For times and more information about the Mississippi State FAir can be found here: http://www.mdac.state.ms.us/departments/ms_fair_commission/state-fair.htm
A plethora of new music...
See the new Paul McCartney video filmed partly in Natchez...
Hear a new version of "Born in the USA" and this week's new releases...
Live music and new releases...
The International Gumbo Festival returns to downtown Jackson.