Vocalist Jewel Bass performs for WellsFest on Saturday, Sept. 26, at Jamie Fowler Boyll Park. Photo courtesy Raphael Semmes
Over its 32-year run, WellsFest has become one of the city's most multifaceted events, offering activities for art enthusiasts, 5K fans, green-thumbed gardeners and good-old-fashioned food lovers. But as "Jackson's original music festival," WellsFest, which takes place Saturday, Sept. 26, at Jamie Fowler Boyll Park, is perhaps best known for its diverse music lineup.
"We're offering everything, literally, from Broadway to bluegrass with a whole lot of blues, jazz and rock in between," says Raphael Semmes, who coordinated WellsFest's entertainment offerings. "From start to finish, there's just going to be excellent music. There's not a point in the day you want to miss."
This year's alternating-stage music schedule kicks off at 10 a.m. on the East Stage with a welcome from folk guitarist Bob Gates and Wells United Methodist Church choir director James Martin, with Jamie Ward accompanying on keys. East Stage performers also include Fondren Guitars owner Patrick Harkins with some of his music students, New Bourbon Street Jazz Band, the Jessie Primer III Band with Pam Confer, funk, blues, jazz and soul act These Days with Jewel Bass, and rock 'n' roll band Doubleshotz to close out the evening. Festivalgoers can head over to the West Stage to see performances from acoustic-rocker Stevie Cain, country-soul duo Andrew Pates and Steve Chester, alternative-rock trio Cynical Twins, and the Lucky Hand Blues Band.
"To me, this year is about tried and true meets brand new," Semmes says. "We've got WellsFest favorites from years past and some brand new faces and voices. One example of that is studio legend Jewel Bass, the most recorded voice in Mississippi, returning with These Days. Then, on the other side of that, we have Stevie Cain making her WellsFest debut. I think she's one of the most exciting young talents to come along in quite a while."
WellsFest is 8 a.m., Saturday, Sept. 26, at Jamie Fowler Boyll Park (1398 Lakeland Drive). All proceeds go to Harbor House, a local nonprofit that assists in recovery from alcohol and drug addiction. Admission is free. For a full list of activities, call 601-353-0658 or visit wellsfest.org.