The Chattanooga African American Museum/Bessie Smith Hall invites you to become a part of Chattanooga’s “Big 9” revitalization by participating in the first Annual Bessie Smith Heritage Festival on Saturday, August 23, 2008. The festival will be held on the grounds of the Chattanooga African American Museum and Martin Luther King Boulevard.
The Chattanooga African American Museum aims to draw attention to the district by celebrating its rich cultural legacy by presenting a diverse selection of arts and cultural programming. The festival will offer a performance stage with ongoing entertainment, along with a diverse array of vendors including delicious food, arts, crafts and other merchandise.
The event includes “A Tribute to Bessie,” an educational lecture/demonstration on blues with Blues master Vasti Jackson and Dr. Clarke White (aka Deacon Bluz) and Jazz artist Joe Johnson. This event will be held in the Bessie Smith Hall.
Festival entertainment will include reggae, blues, smooth jazz, and R & B music with nationally recognized talent, including American Idol’s Ruben Studdard as headliner. Additionally performers include R & B crooner, Calvin Richardson, internationally acclaimed blues artist Vasti Jackson, Nashville’s contemporary jazz saxophonist Joe Johnson, and “Just A Few Cats.”
An excellent marketing opportunity exists for this “significant cultural event. Festival organizers will continue to move the district’s image into a positive and culturally significant aspect of Chattanooga’s heritage. The Bessie Smith Heritage Festival will blend the district’s roots with other art forms that celebrate diversity.
We invite artists and crafts persons with unique products to participate as a vendor in this cultural celebration. Please feel free to contact Stacy Goodwin Lightfoot at (423) 653-4945 or call the Chattanooga African American Museum at (423) 266-8658.