Where else can you start a day with rockstars like Jimbo Mathus & Cedric Burnside encouraging you to buy a goat (for a good cause: Heifer International!), then end it on the dance floor with James Meredith getting down to Bobby Rush?
Only in Clarksdale, Mississippi, y'all.
Scroll for highlights (and click for the behind-the-scenes stories)...
Goat Fest was originally named in honor of Robert Johnson, the Greatest Of All Time who sold his soul at "The Crossroads" here. There were a lot of G.O.A.T.s in the house this weekend:
ALL kinds of talent boogying together in one room: James Meredith is a hero with talents of a different sort. So are the next generation's leaders, who stepped out from behind the camera to meet him in a particularly magical moment.
Mississippi gets a lot of flack. But this birthplace of American music is home to so! much! talent, where the bestest of bluesmen, movers and shakers, farmers, regular folks, and yes Oscar winners all come together -- and have one heckuva time.
The music makes it fun; the people make it great.
We're so glad the live music -- and the people -- are back.
Thanks to y'all who made magic happen. We had the greatest time.
No goats were harmed in the making of Goat Fest! Isaac the Billy Goat arrived in his straw bed, traveling goat-style. That's Lightnin Malcolm and the Shared Experiences welcoming committee greeting Isaac and farmer friend Hank Burdine, getting ready for a Heifer of a day...
Turns out Jimbo's wife worked at Heifer International and he's a big fan! For $120, you can buy a goat that sustains a family for generations. Goat Fest fans bought a whole herd!!
It wasn't just fun n' goats... it was fun n' BLUES! RL Boyce and every. single. act. was amazing.
That's badass blues photographer Deke Rivers catching a selfie after the set with Cedric Burnside, Artemas and Lady Trucker. As Cedric pointed out, he has the longest and most selfie-perfect arms of all.
Jesse Cotton Stone opened both Goat Fest AND the Ground Zero 20th Anniversary party... Then got to join the crowd and play paparazzo himself.
Ground Zero's anniversary drew a great crowd, but Bill Luckett pointed out so many of our blues fans from around the world can't yet travel. He asked who in the house was European, and co-owners Eric Meier and Morgan Freeman laughed pointing out their ONE friend from France: Juliette Binoche.
One great musician after another: that's TJ Hooker Taylor taking a moment mid-set to film us filming him and Ra'Shad the Blues Kid. So blues-meta.
Our intern Yasmine Malone hustled straight from taking her very last final at Ole Miss to broadcast the night #LiveFromClarksdale. She's an amazing organizer, carrying on Mr. Meredith's work -- and finally got to meet him here! They captured a snapshot together with her Aspen Institute (and now Griot exec director!) mentor Leonette Henderson. So much magic.
Photo: Adam David, thanks!
Nuthin' like a blues brunch the morning after... with celebs in the audience kicking back! TJ Hooker Taylor and Sweet Randi Love each killlled it onstage...and still looked fabulous the next morning. Of course.