Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Cat Head Mini Blues Festival and more in Clarksdale, Mississippi, this weekend

Cat Head Delta Blues & Folk Art store in Clarksdale, Mississippi, continues its 10th anniversary celebrations – October 4-7, 2012
(Cat Head store in Clarksdale. Photo art by Chuck Lamb.)


(CLARKSDALE, MISSISSIPPI)October 2, 2012 – 10 years ago, marketing executive Roger Stolle left his corporate job in St. Louis to pursue a blues mission in the Mississippi Delta. He opened Cat Head Delta Blues & Folk Art in the historic downtown of Clarksdale, Mississippi. He also started the "Cat Head Mini Blues Fest" tradition.

"The first year I opened, I tried some live blues at my store after one of the area's big blues festivals was over," Stolle recalls. "I was surprised how many folks showed up. I usually book the older, more traditional blues players, and that really struck a chord with blues fans."

In recent years, Stolle has held three, increasingly bigger Cat Head Mini Blues Fests a yearcausing blues industry friends like Sirius-XM's Bluesville host Bill Wax to question, "Why do you still call it a 'Mini Fest'?"

Now held after April's Juke Joint Festival (Clarksdale, MS), August's Sunflower River Blues Festival (Clarksdale, MS) and October's King Biscuit Blues Festival (Helena, AR), the Cat Head blues festival concept has taken on a life of its own.

"I have some attendees who don't necessarily make it to the big, 'official' festival earlier in the weekend," Stolle says. "They wait till Sunday and just come for the Cat Head event. Others stay over an extra night to enjoy it. I guess they must be playing hooky come Monday morning!"

As Cat Headthe storecontinues its year of 10th Anniversary events, this weekend's "umpteenth" Mini Fest of the year (Sunday, October 7th) caps off a long weekend of store happenings.


- Thurs., 10/4 @ 11am - Julia Magness & Ben Stevens (from Austin Texas).
- Fri., 10/5 @ 11am - “Catfish & Cotton” book signing with live blues music.
- Sat., 10/6 @ 11am - Ben Stevens blues performance.
- Sun., 10/7 @ 9am - CAT HEAD MINI BLUES FEST featuring many of the movie stars from “M for Mississippi,” “We Juke Up in Here” and “Hard Times”... Robert “Wolfman” Belfour, Terry “Harmonica” Bean, Anthony “Big A” Sherrod, Big George Brock, All Night Long Blues Band and more. 9am till. Rain or shine street festival. Plus BBQ available from Big Red. “Please tip your musicians.”

(Cat Head also has a bonus event later next week: Thurs., 10/11 @ 3pm - Bernie Pearl & Mike Barry blues performance.)

All of the live blues events at Cat Head are always free, though Stolle hopes that event-goers also become customers. He says he works hard to tempt them with a mini warehouse full of blues music and collectibles.

"Cat Head is the store I always wanted to walk into but could never find," Stolle says. "It's nothing but the blues – CDs, DVDs, books, magazines, artwork, T-shirts and souvenirs. As a blues fanatic myself, it's not hard for me to understand why we get tourists from around the world every year."

(Stolle at Cat Head. Photo by Billy Howell, "Legends" magazine.)

Since opening in 2002, Clarksdale's Cat Head store and its related recording, documentary and live music projects have garnered numerous honors – from Keeping the Blues Alive and Blues Music Awards to multiple guidebook inclusions and accolades in music magazines such as Paste, which called Cat Head "1 of the 17 coolest record stores in America."

Cat Head is located at 252 Delta Avenue in the historic downtown of Clarksdale, Mississippijust 30 minutes from this weekend's King Biscuit Blues Festival grounds in nearby Helena, Arkansas.

More on the "Cat Head story" as well as a live music calendar and guide to Clarksdale can be found on-line at Store and event updates posted regularly on Facebook under "Roger Stolle." Stolle can be emailed at

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