Waitin’ on Jameson – Family, friends anxious to see country music star play live

Published 6:05 am Wednesday, May 18, 2022

Ready or not, here he comes.

Batesville officials are bracing for the largest one-day influx of visitors in recent history this weekend when country music star Jameson Rodgers returns to his hometown to play his first major concert here since moving to Nashville and charting a path to stardom.

Besides dozens of close and extended family members, along with hundreds of local friends and fans, hundreds of other country music followers are expected to flood onto the Batesville Square Saturday, May 21, for the city’s Springfest 2022.

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“We’re ready, as ready as we can be,” said Mamie Avery, director of the city’s Main Street Program, which puts on the event each year with help from City Hall, Panola County, and Panola Partnership. 

Dozens of corporate and individual sponsors make Springfest possible as organizers strive to keep the music festival free each year.

“I can’t thank our sponsors enough for the great support we have for Springfest again this year. Every year we think it’s the best Springfest ever, but this year really will be special,” Avery said. “We have spent a year planning and working out the kinks and all that is left now is for everyone to welcome Jameson back to Batesville for an awesome weekend.”

An estimated 10-12,000 people were on the Square last year during the Springfest weekend, and officials are preparing for crowds of 20-25,000 for this year’s event. The festival kicks off Friday evening with performances by Johnny Pace & The Blind Beagle Band  and Soul Tones.

Saturday’s music will be the Jason Miller Band, Wesley Walker, and the headlining Rodgers.

Because of the necessity to erect the stage early, Friday’s downtown school traffic will be altered slightly as drivers will find the north side of the Square closed to thru traffic. Batesville Police have worked closely with school district officials, and traffic flow is expected to be slower, but not congested during the afternoon pickup.

Extra security personnel, along with a near-full force presence from the Batesville Police and Sheriff’s Office will be on hand, along with EMTs and ambulances.

To help free up some room for music fans, officials this year asked the visiting carnival to downsize, bringing fewer rides and games. The carnival company agreed, settling for a later date when they will return with the full crew.

Also, arts and crafts vendors will not be a part of Springfest this year, although the vendors mall on Hwy. 6W is expecting brisk business from the coming crowds.

Food trucks and booths will be available to service hungry and thirsty revelers. Springfest is a family event and organizers will have a designated area where beer will be sold and served. Open containers of alcohol will be in the Downtown area, but not coolers.

Besides the music and general carnival fun, the Batesville Junior Auxiliary will sponsor a free kid’s play area on the south side of the Square. Another highlight of the festival will be Saturday’s corn hole tournament where some of the region’s top teams will compete for cash and trophies.

Parking is free downtown, but limited. Areas that are designated for public parking this year include the Batesville Clinic lot, First Baptist Church lot, First United Methodist Church lot, the public lot on Van Voris Street (behind Flint’s Hardware), and the First Security Station lot at the corner of Hwy. 6 and Eureka St.

Visitors can check the Panola County mobile app, available at the App Store, or the www.batesvillemainstreet.com website and the Main Street Program Facebook page for last minute updates, including street closures or time changes.

Photo:  Country music star Jameson Rodgers is pictured enjoying a moment with his mentor and friend Steve McGregory two weeks ago backstage at the Grand Ole Opry. Rodgers invited McGregory to accompany him at the most famous venue of country music. Rodgers will return to Batesville for a homecoming concert at Springfest 2022 this Saturday