Spring Fest one month away

Published 4:05 pm Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Spring Fest 2021 is shaping up to be one of the biggest events in Batesville over the past decade, with record-breaking crowds expected for the May 14-15 musical festival on the Batesville Square.

Thousands of people from the Batesville trade area descend on the city for the two-day festival each year. Last year’s cancellation due to COVID-19 has increased public interest for this year’s event.

“The phones are ringing off the hook,” said Mamie Avery, director of the city’s Main Street Program. “People are calling from everywhere wanting to know the music line-up and what types of arts and crafts booths have registered. Of course, the Mississippi Cornhole Classic just keeps growing, too. We have teams from all over the Southeast already signed up.”

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Avery this week posted the official musical line-up, although word had already leaked that country star Frank Foster will be the headliner for Saturday night.

The music will begin Friday (May 14) afternoon with the Eric Deaton Trio followed by The Soul Tones.

On Saturday, Jason & Presley Adams are set to rock the Square, followed by The Drew Marshall Band and Elmo & The Shades.

The Steve Azar Trio will Saturday night before Frank Foster takes the stage. Before local economic developer Joe Azar changed careers, he managed several country and rock bands, including The Outfield, and traveled the world with younger brother Steve, organizing and producing major musical festivals in Europe, Japan, and the United States.

Frank Foster, a native of Cypress Bottom, LA., has released eight independent albums: Rowdy Reputation in 2011, Red Wings and Six Strings in 2012, Southern Soul in 2013, Rhythm and Whiskey in 2014, “Boots on the Ground” in 2016, “Good Country Music” in 2016, 2018 “Till I’m Gone” and in 2020 “The Way It Was.”

Jonathan Widran of AllMusic gave Red Wings and Six Strings four stars out of five, writing that “Foster’s ability to connect lies in the raw emotional authenticity of his storytelling.”

Southern Soul sold 6,000 copies in its first week of release, debuting at number 11 on the Billboard Top Country Albums chart and number 67 on the Billboard 200.

Rhythm and Whiskey debuted at No. 21 on the Billboard 200 and No. 4 on the Hot Country Albums chart, with 9,000 copies sold in the US the first week.

“Spring Fest is fortunate to have Frank Foster playing for us,” Joe Azar said. “His live shows are known throughout the country music business as among the best for fans. We are super excited to have him come to Batesville. I’m expecting our city and county to reap big benefits from this year’s Spring Fest.”

A big part of Spring Fest, of course, are the carnival rides and games. Happee Day Shows has once again been contracted to bring the thrill rides and games of chance for entertainment.

The members of the Batesville’s Junior Auxiliary will once again sponsor their Kids Korner, always a popular part of Spring Fest for families with young children.

Avery said the cornhole tournament still has a few openings for signups and that process can be completed online.

Also, anyone wanting to have an arts and crafts booth, or wanting information about concession sales, should contact the Panola Partnership office soon because the festival is just one month away. The office number is 662-563-3126.

T-shirt sales are also available at www.panolacounty.com or by contacting the office. There will also be a commemorative poster published this year, and those too can be pre-ordered at the Main Street office. They will also be sold during the festival.