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Two Mississippians to Play at the New Orleans Jazz Fest

There will be a pair of people from Pascagoula playing at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival this year.

Libby Rae Watson, one of the top blues music performers in the state of Mississippi, is returning to The Fairgrounds for the first time in over 20 years. Watson will co-headline the Lagniappe Stage on Thursday, May 5 at Jazz Fest taking the stage at 3:55 p.m., for a scheduled hour-long set.

Oh yeah, and Jimmy Buffett is playing this year as well.

Watson was scheduled to play the 2020 New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival before its cancellation.

It would have been her second appearance at The Fairgrounds, after an initial performance there in 1997. She is a popular, in-demand performer annually on the Mississippi Delta blues festival circuit, and has garnered awards in the annual International Blues Challenge in Memphis as well.

“When Covid hit in 2020 and the festival got canceled, I thought that was it. Opportunity gone,” Watson said. “So when I got the call for the return of Jazz Fest, I was elated! It’s one of my favorite festivals of all time. I attend almost every year just as a fan as well.”

Local fans will get a chance to see Watson up close and personal just before she heads to The Big Easy, as Watson and her Hoodoo Men, who will also accompany her at Jazz Fest, will open for Steve Forbert at The Grand Magnolia in Pascagoula on Tuesday, May 3. Tickets are still available for that show at www.grandmagmusic.com.

Watson has also been featured at The Mighty Mississippi Music Festival, was named the 2016 Musician of the Year by the Mississippi Delta Blues Society of Indianola as well as being featured at the 2019 Amal Blues Festival in Sweden and the King Biscuit Blues Festival.

Watson is fresh off of her performance at the 2021 North Mississippi Hill Country Picnic as well as her annual slot at The Juke Joint Festival.

The HooDoo Men are comprised of longtime Watson musical cohorts Bill Steber, Sammy Baker and Sam Rorex.

Buffett will be making his 14th (not counting his many guest appearances over the years) appearance at Jazz Fest as he and his Coral Reefer Band return. He has long been one of the festival’s favored performers.

Buffett is set to hold court on the main Festival Stage (formerly Acura Stage) on the final day at The Fairgrounds with a set slated for 3:35 p.m., on Sunday, May 8.

Just after that performance, longtime Coral Reefer Band member and proud Mississippian Mac McAnally will also play at The Grand Magnolia on Friday, May 13 and Saturday, May 14. The first show has long been sold out but a few tickets remain for Saturday night.

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Written by Curtis Rockwell

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