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Explore Arts, Music, History in Natchez, MS

Abundant cultural opportunities are available

By Teree Caruthers on April 29, 2015

Natchez Festival of Music in Natchez, MS
Natchez / Mark Coffey

The show goes on in Natchez-Adams County, from musical performances and family-friendly festivals to museums and historic sites. Here are examples:

Perfect Harmony

Delta Music Museum in nearby Ferriday, La., preserves music history with exhibits celebrating the work of notable Mississippi, Louisiana and Tennessee musicians, while Joseph Stone House Musicale B&B treats guests to classical serenades in the historic home’s music room. Since 1991, Natchez Festival of Music has brought the city’s musical heritage to life with a month-long series of events and live performances at venues across the city, and an annual music festival named RiverStock brings several country music acts to Natchez for a day of entertainment in May.

Natchez is also part of an Americana Music Triangle that features Nashville, Memphis and New Orleans as points of the “triangle,” with several cities like Natchez and Tupelo highlighted within the tourism destination promotion. The Great Mississippi River Balloon Race brings out top names in country, pop, and folk for three days of concerts and hot-air balloon competitions, and visitors to Natchez can also catch a few big-name acts at Isle of Capri or Magnolia Bluffs casinos.

Art, Theater and Dance

The city shows off its artsy side every second Saturday of the month when downtown art galleries and boutiques extend their hours, allowing visitors to leisurely browse the city’s cultural collection. ArtsNatchez helps promote the work of local artists through its gallery exhibits and community arts programs and classes, and Natchez Little Theatre (since 1932) is one of the longest-running community theaters in the south. Rochester Dance Company enriches the community through dance education and performance, and Natchez Ballet Company inspires children one step at a time.

History Has Its Places

Residents and tourists can immerse themselves in Natchez’s colorful history at places like Emerald Mound, a National Historic Landmark located on the Natchez Trace that is one of the largest Native American mounds in the country. The region’s Native American history is further celebrated at Grand Village of the Natchez Indians that includes a museum featuring excavated Natchez artifacts and three ceremonial mounds.

Natchez National Historical Park offers a glimpse of the city’s antebellum past, and visitors can also take a guided tour of Melrose, the pre-Civil War mansion of John McMurran and the William Johnson House, home to a successful African-American barber in the 1880s. People can learn more about the region’s African-American heritage at Natchez Museum of African-American History and Culture, while Forks of the Roads Enslavement Market Sites recognize the struggle for freedom by slaves before emancipation in 1863.

Also listed on the National Register of Historic Places is Historic Jefferson College, once one of the most respected institutions in the region. Today, it offers another look at life in Natchez before the Civil War when the school was forced to close.

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