MDBSI is organized to operate for the advancement of education and for other non-profit purposes related to blues music, by the distribution of its funds for such purposes and particularly to:
- Preserve, cultivate, nurture, and promote the blues of the Mississippi Delta, an indigenous American cultural expression.
- Support blues artists and traditional blues venues by hosting/sponsoring live performances for public benefit and enjoyment.
- Increase awareness of and appreciation for the blues through collaborative educational efforts.
- Provide a forum for exchange of blues news and events within a network of blues enthusiasts.
- Support Mississippi Delta events and organizations through innovative blues-related partnerships.
The Mississippi Delta Blues Society of Indianola, Inc. is an all volunteer 501(c)3 non-profit organization.
The Mississippi Delta Blues Society of Indianola was formed in November 2003. A group of Indianola blues enthusiasts became excited about starting a blues society when our State had a vision of preserving the blues through heritage tourism. Appreciating the music and understanding its importance, the founding members took on the task.
They became affiliated with the Blues Foundation in Memphis. In 2004 their first local blues challenge was held at the historic Club Ebony which was once an important venue for the Chitlin’ Circuit. Since then the society has taken Mississippi blues artists to the BF’s International Blues Challenge every year. By participating in IBC, the musicians have received exposure and opportunities that they otherwise could never have enjoyed. It has been very important to the members of this society to nurture this art form as well as honoring the stories and the storytellers.
In addition to supporting the artists, MDBSI has been able to share with this international blues audience in Memphis that Mississippi has live blues music, blues sites, a blues trail, blues museums including the B.B. King Museum and Delta Interpretive Center in Indianola.
In 2006 the Mississippi Blues Commission unveiled the first Mississippi Blues Trail Marker six miles outside of Indianola in Holly Ridge at the gravesite of Charley Patton. Patton is considered by many to be the “Father of the Delta Blues.” The Mississippi Blues Trail now has over 200 markers and the majority of them are in the Delta.
The B.B. King Museum opened its doors in 2008. B.B. King passed away May 14, 2015, and is buried on the museum grounds. The museum also owns the historic Club Ebony which is open for special events, tour groups, and available for rentals.
Nine more miles west of Holly Ridge is the Highway 61 Blues Museum in Leland. This community has blues trail markers as well as numerous murals painted on downtown buildings portraying influential blues musicians. One hour north of Indianola down Highway 61 is Clarksdale which is the home of the Delta Blues Museum and other blues spots. Thirty miles north on Highway 49W is Dockery Farms. It is often called the “Birthplace of the Delta Blues”.
Indianola is surrounded by communities with a rich blues music history. MDBSI has evolved into a blues society not only for Indianola, but also as a blues society for the Mississippi Delta helping with blues-related projects when needed throughout the year.
The Indianola Blues Society is a Delta musician’s best friend. They have helped me in many ways and even gave me some material for a new song! ” – Mickey Rogers, Musician
Board of Directors
|President||Janet M. Webb|
|Vice President||Steve Rosenthal|
|Secretary / Membership||Marsha Wooten|
|Treasurer||Paul Townsend, IV|
|2005||Janet M. Webb|
|2009||Evelyn Roughton & Steve Willoughby|
Blues Artists of the Year
|2004||David Lee Durham|
|2015||Cadillac John Nolden|
|2016||Libby Rae Watson|
B.B. King Museum & Delta Interpretive Center
400 2nd St, Indianola, MS 38751
Hours: Tuesday-Saturday 10AM-5PM; Sunday & Monday Noon-5PM; November 1-March 31 Closed on Mondays; Check website for holiday hours
Phone: (662) 887-9539
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