You know you're in the Delta when you see the Christmas snowflake still hanging from the utility pole just left of the big crossed guitars sign.
Since it was turned into a hotel in 1944, many blues legends have stayed there, including Sonny Boy Williamson II, Robert Nighthawk, Ike Turner, and Duke Ellington.
Many lived on the expansive plantations that still surround the town and command the Delta, like Stovall's, six miles north, pictured here, where Muddy Waters was discovered by John Work III and Alan Lomax in 1941. Muddy left the Stovall Plantation for good in 1943 and caught a train to Chicago at the station that still stands just off of Issaquena Street in downtown Clarksdale.
I have only one issue to take with the whole thing. In an effort to bring in a bunch of big names for this 25th anniversary festival, the organizers sold a ton of sponsorships and they were all rewarded with tables in front of the stage, relegating the non-sponsor, non-payers to the side and in the back on John Lee Hooker Lane--so you had all the white folks (the sponsors) in front of the stage enclosed by a fence that kept all the black folks (local Clarksdalians mostly) out and away from the performers they had come to see. I'm sure nothing racial was meant by this set-up, but it sure looked awful. Plus someone decided, for the first time ever, to put a chainlink fence around the entire festival area, again segregating the community from the show. And, since the festival is free, this of course makes no sense at all. Forgive my rant, but this craziness must be stopped!