For the Daily News
The Cotton District Arts Festival is on Saturday, April 23, and this year’s festival is not to be missed!
Besides all the great art, the villages filled with fun activities, and the outstanding food at the Taste of Starkville, the Cotton District Arts Festival has two new and exciting events to offer: Friday Night Bandstand and the Songwriting Competition.
This year, in addition to the outstanding musical performances on our main stages on Saturday, festival-goers are invited to join us for Friday Night Bandstand, where you can start the weekend off with a bang enjoying live music outdoors in Starkville's beautiful Cotton District. Our local and very eclectic lineup on Friday will begin with Tax Exemption! at 7 p.m., followed by 4 Valentine at 7:30 pm, the Jarheads at 8 pm, and Shay Harris at 9 p.m. Make a weekend of it! What better way to start your Easter Weekend off than by listening to local talent outdoors while browsing a sneak preview of the beautiful artwork lining the area?
The evening starts out with the Jarheads, a local hometown favorite whose music will rock you! The trio describes their music as progressive pop “with just the right pop.” Fans here are looking forward to hearing the band again since their transition from high school to college. The Jarheads' energetic kicking and screaming shows are what fans love and can't wait to see; their presence on stage electrifies the audience and brings them into the soul of Rock N' Roll!
Next up is 4 Valentine, a new girls' group from the heart of Starkville, ready to reach out and grab your hearts! Najeea Waters, Rikki Williams, Krystal Jordon, and Kiana Stinson make up the four-part harmony whose vocals are sure to amaze you. These four young ladies bring a hip and chic flavor that will pull on your heart strings, mixing it with a little pop and a strum of R&B. Their style is upbeat and will make you wanna groove!
Tax Exemption! is next in the lineup, the place where Garage Rock meets Post Punk; it's a new twist of Punk Rock and a taste of something different than what we might be used to here in Starkville. The local band includes Zachary Mitchell, Hal Sullivan, and Faith Spann. This gritty, unpolished rock n' roll band will ignite you with their unusual persona that will hit you deep down and take you way back!
And closing out our evening is the lovely Shay Harris. Shay Harris fell in love with Gospel and R&B growing up because that's all she heard in her house as a little girl. She grew up here in Mississippi, and among other things has acted on syndicated shows and modeled in national magazines. Still, Shay's true heart's desire is music, and we are honored to have her as our Friday Night Bandstand headliner performance at 9 p.m.
We are excited to have such a range of talent on one stage in one evening and know that fans will love it! Friday Night Bandstand will be held at the Eclectic Stage on Page Avenue, starting at 7 p.m .on April 22.
Along with Friday Night Bandstand, this year's Cotton District Arts Festival boasts its first-ever Songwriting Competition. Beginning late last year, local amateur and professional songwriters of all genres were invited to submit their work for a chance to win cash prizes and have their material played on one of the main stages at the Arts Festival this year.
The competition attracted submissions from all around Mississippi and even from neighboring states, as well as from Starkville itself. Submissions had a variety of styles, including blues, rock, country, folk, Gospel, Contemporary Christian, R&B, big band jazz, and pop.
Songs submitted in the competition will be judged on originality, melody, composition, structure, and lyrics. Two panels of musicians will be judging the submissions, with the first panel narrowing down the many submissions to a list of finalists. Winners will be determined by the first week in March. Three winners will receive cash prizes and the opportunity to perform their songs on the Cotton Arts stage.
With musical performers coming from all over the area, and with the addition of a whole new evening of musical talent, this year's festival lineup is sure to please! Be sure to come check out all the other genres of talent, too, and treat your taste buds to some delicious cuisine while you're at it! Support your local artists and join us for a weekend to remember...
The Starkville Area Arts Council is proud to bring this festival to Starkville and appreciates the support of the City of Starkville, the Greater Starkville Development Partnership, and the Mississippi Arts Commission.
For more information, check out the website at www.starkvillearts.org . All applications are available on the website. Sponsorships and volunteer opportunities are still available. Contact the SAAC office at 324-3080.