The Corporation is organized exclusively to develop and promote an appreciation of blues music through the presentation of festivals, concerts, promotions, and any, and all activities deemed necessary to carry out our Mission.
Our mission is to educate, promote, and preserve Mississippi native, cultural, musical art form. We strive to enhance the Gulf Coast community quality of life by keeping the music viable and alive. Since, music is an art form that is enjoyed by everyone keeping the Festival alive; we are giving the public an entertainment outlet rich in tradition.
A group of Blues enthusiasts from across the Mississippi Gulf Coast came together to form “The Mississippi Gulf Coast Blues Commission, Inc.” In September 1989 the first Blues and Heritage Festival were held at the Mississippi Gulf Coast Coliseum in Harrison County. Three years later the festival was relocated to Jackson County Fairground pavilion, Pascagoula for economic reasons. In the earlier days approximately sixx thousand Blues lovers attended this annual event.
The Festival attracts visitors from a tri-state area that includes Alabama, Florida, and Louisiana; and multi-county impact of Jackson, Hancock, Harrison, Mississippi and Mobile County, Alabama. Also, we attract Blues enthusiasts from as far away as Chicago, Illinois, and Detroit, Michigan.
Since Mississippi is the birthplace to the Blues, the festival is another way to showcase, highlight, and promote Mississippi’s unique contribution to music and entertainment. The Mississippi Gulf Coast is the perfecgt setting to attract diehard blues lovers, blues enthusiasts or tourist in search of lively entertainment. We target individuals by advertising at all MS Welcome Centers across the Gulf Coast, through local radio and television public service announcements.
Non-profit Organization Status
The Mississippi Gulf Coast Blues Commission, Inc. has been in existence since 1991. The organization has continued to register on an annual basis with the Secretary of State – the State of Mississippi as a charitable 501-c(3) non-profit organization.
Historical Landmark Blues Marker
Mississippi declared itself the birthplace of America’s Music. The Mississippi Legislature established the MS Blues Trail Commission to celebrate and explore the states rich musical heritage. Markers have been in place in designated locations across the state to share stories of blues musicians, venues, communities and experiences. In recognition of 25 years the Blues and Heritage Festival received a Blues marker to commemorate the festival’s significance to the blues culture on the Gulf Coast at the Jackson County Fairground on Friday, September 9, 2016. This accomplishment and recognition can be something the community can take pride in.
The commission would like to invest in our local community by donating to worthy causes. The first consideration shall be given to youth organizations and activities. Proposed recipients must meet the requirements of a charitable entity in accordance with local, state, or federal resolutions, regulations, or laws. Scholarships are another way the commission promoted and preserved the Blues, encouraging the next generation to pursue musical careers.
The Commission is composed of two classes of membership, that of Associate member and Sustaining member.
The term “Associate member” as hereinafter defined as a person who subscribes to the objective of the Commission for an annual subscription fee set by the Directors. The sum of fifty dollars is to be collected annually. An associate member has no voting rights, however, has agreed to assist the commission in its efforts to keep the blues festival alive.
The term “Sustaining member” as hereinafter defined as a person who has paid the sum of five hundred dollars for a lifetime membership and has pledged support, both financial and personal effort, to achieve the objective of the Commission on a continuing basis. The financial amount pledged shall be set by the Directors. The decision making and voting rights are bestowed upon the sustaining members.
Blues Commission Officers
- President: Phyllis Owens
- 1st Vice: Emily Gaddis
- 2nd Vice: Charlotte Brown
- Secretary: Aniece Liddell
- Treasurer: Finas Belks
The Annual Blues and Heritage Festival is slated the second Saturday in September at the Jackson County Fairgrounds in Pascagoula, Mississippi. The festival normally starts around 11:00 AM until 10:00 PM depending on the number of entertainers booked. The Blues Commission begins planning and preparing for the event in January. Sponsors, vendors and security have to be contacted, artist contracts signed, banner, brochures, flyer and tickets designed.