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Mississippi's 10 Best Events, Shows and Festivals this August
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Mississippi's 10 Best Events, Shows and Festivals this August

Picture of Jim Mud
Updated: 9 February 2017
Mississippi is turning into a hub for local creativity, staging numerous high-calibre and intimate events to please any culture aficionado. From the state’s first fringe festival taking over Oxford for a weekend, to a weekend filled with blues music in Jackson, you are bound to find great things to do across the state this summer. To make things easier, here is Culture Trip’s pick of the top ten cultural events and festivals in Mississippi.

Culture | The First Art-Er Limits Fringe Festival

1 – 2 August

This August, a special guest is descending upon Oxford – it’s the first annual Art-Er Limits Fringe Festival, or what promises to be an arts bonanza you don’t want to miss. Wine tastings will cross paths with book talks, concerts by local bands will be followed by improv comedy events, and the Oxford Artists’ Guild Summer Market will compete for attention with performances of one-act plays – so you should allow yourself enough time to experience as many of the 80 events as you can. This festival, hopefully the first of many, is one of the more unusual and large-scale cultural events taking place this summer in Mississippi, so make sure you get your $5 ticket and attend on both days of this artsy weekend.

Various venues across Oxford, MS, USA

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Music | Music in the City at the Mississippi Museum of Art

5 August

Part of a monthly series of free concerts hosted at the Mississippi Museum of Art, Music in the City is a wonderful occasion to dress up and listen to the best of what classical music has to offer. The August concert will see Kenneth Graves and John Paul play Brahms’ Sonata No. 3 in F Minor, an inspiring oeuvre for piano and clarinet, in the intimate setting of the Trustmark Grand Hall. Fusing a sense of Romanticism with the most classic of styles, Brahms composed this sonata as an indirect tribute to Beethoven at the age of 20. Its spirit and changing moods make it an unmissable musical experience.

Mississippi Museum of Art, 380 S Lamar St, Jackson, MS, USA, +1 601-960-1515

Music in the City
Image Courtesy Mississippi Museum of Art
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Arts | Fondren After 5

7 August

Jackson’s ever-popular Fondren After 5 is more than an art walk – the event is a bonanza of art, music and culture taking place in various venues all over the Fondren neighbourhood. This year’s August edition brings together a particularly exciting mix of events, with four block parties, works by countless artists and performances by 30 bands all happening in a single evening. Expect to witness an artist’s craft first-hand during a live painting session, enjoy some cool brews at one of the many beer stations and, of course, listen to fabulous music composed and played by Mississippi locals. Fondren After 5 is a monthly event, so remember to save the date on every first Thursday of the month.

Fondren Neighbourhood, Jackson, MS, USA, +1 601 981-9606

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Performing Arts | Les Misérables at the Parkside Playhouse

8 – 10 and 15 – 17 August

When Victor Hugo’s Les Misérables was adapted for the stage by Claude-Michel Schönberg in 1980, it received widespread criticism and negative reviews the world over. However, three decades on, it is one of the most iconic and recognisable shows in the history of musical theatre. This August, Les Mis comes to Vicksburg in a series of performances by the Vicksburg Theatre Guild, with a cast of popular Mississippi-based actors and theatre professionals. From the famous I Dreamed a Dream, sung by Fantine during Act One, to the epic battle scene with all of its political significance, Les Mis is an unmissable musical with a fascinating historical background.

Parkside Playhouse, 101 Iowa, Vicksburg, MS, USA, +1 601-636-0471

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Music | Jackson Rhythm and Blues Festival

15 – 16 August

Taking place at the Mississippi Agriculture and Forestry Museum in mid-August, the Jackson Rhythm and Blues Festival is one of the prime music events happening in Mississippi this summer. The line-up includes 30 acts performing on five stages, singing up the best of classic and contemporary jazz and blues. Get ready to listen to big names such as Estelle and Ziggy Marley, and get to know emerging talents who have come from across the United States to showcase their repertoire at the festival. The perfect way to celebrate musical heritage in ‘the city with soul’, the festival will also feature numerous sizzling food stalls, ice-cold beer and all-day activities for the music-hungry.

Mississippi Agriculture and Forestry Museum, 1150 Lakeland Drive, Jackson, MS, USA, +1 601-432-4500

Culture | Bright Lights, Belhaven Nights

16 August

A celebration of all things Greater Belhaven, the Bright Lights Belhaven Nights street festival combines elements of music, dance, art and food to guarantee a day packed full of fun activities, craft stalls, mouth-watering snacks and special guests. From a silent auction of works by local artist Ginger Williams-Cook to fresh, regional produce sold at the Mississippi Farmers’ Market and live music acts including Celtic, jazz and acoustic performances, the festival is eagerly awaited by Belhaven’s community and runs into the late evening. This year’s edition is the festival’s 10th, making for a special jubilee event.

Various venues across Belhaven, MS, USA

Bright Lights Belhaven Nights
Image Courtesy of Bright Lights Belhaven Nights

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Photography | Activist Photographers of the Civil Rights Movement Exhibition

Until 17 August

August sees the last two weeks of the Mississippi Museum of Art’s insightful and compelling Activist Photographers of the Civil Rights Movement, an exhibition combining art and politics in its bold display of political photographs from the Civil Rights Movement period. With images from nine important photographers of the era – George Ballis, Matt Herron and Bob Fitch, among others – the show tells an incredible tale of America’s struggle for freedom, unbending spirit and uneasy triumph among much tragedy. A must-see for all Jacksonians, and not just history or photography buffs, this exhibit is like no other in its evocative power and brutal honesty.

Mississippi Museum of Art, 380 S Lamar St, Jackson, MS, USA, +1 601-960-1515

Activist Photographers of Civil Rights Movement
Matt Herron (born 1931), Selma to Montgomery, 1965 | Photograph, copyright © the artist.

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Arts and Crafts | Mississippi Craft Show

23 – 24 August

An event representing Mississippi creativity in all its vitality, the Mississippi Craft Show promises to be a fabulous way of spending the penultimate weekend of August in a setting of original arts and crafts from the region and countless unique bargains. Anything goes, as long as it’s local and artsy, from delicious fudge creations to glass sculptures, specialist framing services and gorgeous jewellery, so bring a shopping list or come prepared to explore this thriving hub of Mississippi creativity.

Trade Mart, High Street, Jackson, MS, USA

Art | August Art Crawl

26 August

The monthly Oxford Art Crawl is a popular event designed to educate the public and raise awareness about the local art world, taking visitors on two-hour tours across the city’s pop up art spaces and established galleries. In addition to this, there is usually a pre-crawl reception hosted at the historic Powerhouse building to kick-start each cultural evening, so come early and get to know the rest of the artsy crowd before admiring the best of Jackson’s art scene. The Art Crawl takes place on every fourth Tuesday of the month, from January to November.

Various locations in Oxford, MS

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Arts | 36th Annual Prairie Arts Festival

30 August

The Prairie Arts Festival is a much-anticipated event happening every summer in the historic surrounds of West Point, Mississippi, with the first edition staged 36 years ago. Each year, it’s a day filled with activities, art and culture, offering demos by local craftsmen and artists, stalls with real, home-cooked Southern delicacies and concerts by numerous local bands, on four stages located across town. All in all, there will be more than 400 exhibits and stalls to choose from, guaranteeing fun and excitement throughout the day. Remember to bring your running shoes, as the festival kicks off with a 5k run at 8 a.m. sharp.

Various locations across West Point, MS, USA