NEW ALBANY, MS – The summer of 2016 is shaping up to be a big one for New Albany in terms of outdoor events. The events started two weeks ago with the beginning of the free Levitt AMP concert series taking place on the new stage being constructed at Park Along the River. Right around 500 people showed up to see New Albany’s The Dukes open for bluesman Alvin Youngblood Hart. This past weekend around 250 showed up to hear New Albany’s Shaunzy open up for inspirational Hip Hop artist, Dee-1.
Organizers say that they are pleased with the turnout so far. “It’s new music in a new location and we know that sometimes it takes a while for things to catch on, so we were never expecting Riverfest-sized crowds for the events. The most important thing for us is that those who do show up have a great time and from what we’ve heard, they have.”
New Albany Roots, Saturday June 18th
But for those looking for a bigger crowd, they won’t have to wait too long. Not only does the Levitt AMP series continue this weekend with Marcella & Her Lovers, a Memphis band that, along with lead singer Marcella Simien (the daughter of Grammy-winning zydeco artist Terrence Simien) features New Albanian David Cousar on guitar. Another NA connection would be with the opening act, Hanna Star. Hanna, whose real name is Hanna McCarthy, a Senior at White Station High School in Memphis, is the second cousin of former long-time Union County Supervisor, Danny Jordan.
“We’ve tried to include a number of acts from Union County, or with Union County roots, in the Levitt line up,” says Sean Johnson, who is organizing the festival. “One of the goals of the festival is to bring new music types to town so people can see something out of the ordinary, but at the same time it’s great when some of the “new” music we’re bringing in has existing ties to the community.
A Carnival Comes to Town
Beginning early next week, residents will begin seeing the construction of a full carnival midway on the Farmer’s market grounds next to the Tallahatchie bridge on Bankhead Street. The carnival will include food vending, games, and a number of rides, including the Ferris Wheel, Tornado, Sea Dragon and more. The rides will be up all week, and will be available for Sam Mosley and Freedom Fest.
In addition to the carnival rides, there will be “zorb” balls for rent, as well as pony rides and a petting zoo.
Sam Mosley Returns, Friday June 24th
The New Albany Levitt AMP Series will present Sam Mosley and the Muscle Shoals Horns with special guest Grace Askew on Friday night, June 24th. New Albany resident Sam Mosley, along with his late partner in music Bob Johnson, garnered a worldwide following with their Mosley and Johnson Band. The group, known for its native R&B sound wrote and produced a number of records for top blues artists and many of their old 45s are now collectors’ items, especially in Europe. Opening for Sam will be Memphis-based Grace Askew, who Rolling Stone called “the most robbed contestant” of television’s fourth season of “The Voice”.
Freedom Fest, First Hand, Confederate Railroad & Fireworks, Saturday June 25th
For the second year in a row, Freedom Fest returns to New Albany. This year’s festivities begin morning at Park Along the River. There will be an arts market in the wooded area near the playground and day concerts featuring UpStage, American Reverb, Wooden Groove and others throughout the day. At around 5pm there will be political speaking and a flag ceremony at the main stage as well as a pet parade sponsored by the Union County Humane Society, followed by music by the country act Honky Tonk Heroes, up and coming country star Melissa Lee and classic country superstars, Confederate Railroad. After the Confederate Railroad concert there will be a professional fireworks show sponsored by Barnes Crossing GMC.
The Levitt AMP Series is presented by Sugarees Bakery, New Albany Tourism and the Levitt Foundation and is sponsored by BNA Bank, A2H Architects, ASI, Clark Beverage and others, with the help of the Pilot Club.
Freedom Fest is sponsored by I Heart Media, Barnes Crossing GMC, Riverside Traffic Systems, Cook’s Adult Healthcare, as well as many others. The First Hand Political Speaking Event is presented by the Union County Republican Women.
All events are free and open to the public (carnival rides and some attractions will charge a fee).
For more information about upcoming events in New Albany, check out www.visitnewalbany.com/summerofmusic. And you can keep up with everything that’s happening on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/ilovenams/ and at https://www.facebook.com/freedomfestNA/?fref=ts