Minden Press-Herald

Tuesday
Sep 30th

Pearl Fest honors Mayfield’s music

The late Percy Mayfield called Minden home and his original sound studio once stood just blocks from the site of this year's Pearl Fest.

The Minden native, who wrote "Hit the Road Jack" for Ray Charles will be remembered at this year's second annual Pearl Fest.

The two-day festival, sponsored by Blazer Construction, Penal Farm Road Entertainment LLC and funded in part by a grant from the Webster Parish Convention and Visitors Bureau, will be held Friday and Saturday, September 23 and 24 at The Farm in Minden.

Organizers have opened the four-acre Farm for this outdoor event that promises 'all music for all people.'

According to Julie Vogel, co-chairperson, musicians from Breaux Bridge, Monroe, Shreveport, Bossier, Homer and Minden will bring to the town of 13,000 a concert featuring everything from blues to folk pop.

With more than 15 hours of music planned between two stages, Pearl Fest will host the likes of Dorothy Prime, La Queen of Soul, A.J. & The Two Tone Blues Band, Engine, Irene and Heartbreakers, Dat Band, Ben Jenkins, Angela Mills and many others.

"We are excited about this year's festival and we are especially grateful to the musicians who have offered their time and talent," Vogel said. "I think anyone who loves good music will appreciate what we're trying to do here."

Friday's event runs from 7 p.m. until midnight while Saturday's schedule starts at 2 p.m. and ends at midnight. (See above) Admission is $10 for either night or $15 for a weekend pass.

Friday, gates will open at 6 p.m. with music to begin at 7 p.m. Food concessions will be open all evening and band merchandise available for sale.

Proceeds from the event will go toward the organization's Cultured Pearl Scholarship Program for the Arts.

Percy – a Minden pearl

Percy Mayfield made the charts in 1950 with his R&B single "Please Send Me Someone to Love."

Mayfield's charm and good looks were noted early on in his career until 1952 when an auto accident left him seriously injured, including a facial disfigurement that limited his performing.

Mayfield continued to write and record. His career continued to flourish with songs like "Strange Things Happening," "Lost Love," "What a Fool I Was," "Cry Baby" and others.

In 1961, he came to the attention of Ray Charles with his song "Hit the Road Jack." Charles signed him to his own label where he wrote "Hide Nor Hair," "At The Club," "Danger Zone" and "On the Other Hand, Baby."

Mayfield died of a heart attack in 1984, the day before his 64th birthday.

It took the town of Minden Minden more than 30 years to recognize the works of their native son.

Cultural Crossroads, a local arts organization and owners of The Farm celebrated the life of Percy Mayfield at their annual festival in 2005 which included a special documentary about Percy produced by Cultural Crossroads in his honor. In June of 2005, Cultural Crossroads was instrumental in getting the "Poet Laureate of the Blues" inducted in the Louisiana Music Hall of Fame.

(Information about the life of Percy Mayfield was gathered by Chris Broussard from family members and various Internet sources.)

 

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