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January 9, 2008




Prestigious international music event to honor “birthplace of the blues”


(JACKSON, Mississippi) — For the first time in its history, the Blues Music Awards will be held in the birthplace of the blues—the Mississippi Delta—Governor Haley Barbour announced today. The Blues Music Awards, sponsored by the Blues Foundation, is heralded as one of the most prestigious events in all of Blues music for 2008.


“I can think of no better location to host the Blues Music Awards than the undisputed birthplace of the Blues, right here in the Mississippi Delta,” Governor Barbour said. “One of the most significant aspects of our culture is the state’s vast music heritage, particularly in the blues genre. I’m delighted the Blues Foundation recognizes Mississippi’s important role in the history of the blues, and I welcome them, along with all lovers of the soulful, Delta blues, to our great state!”


Jay Sieleman, executive director of the Blues Foundation, announced the date of the Blues Music Awards will be May 8, 2008. The international event will be held in Tunica at the new Harrah’s Casino Tunica (formerly Grand Casino), in the Event Center, a state-of-the-art 2,500 seat venue.


“This is a great opportunity for us to expose more people to the most important event in Blues music,” Sieleman said. “Secondly, we know the Delta location will provide an excellent opportunity for the fans that come from around the globe to explore the birthplace of the Blues. The timing is particularly appropriate as more and more of the Mississippi Blues Trail markers are added.”

The State of Mississippi, the Tunica Convention and Visitors Bureau and Harrah’s Casino Tunica are sponsoring the Blues Music Awards.

“Tunica is the logical place to host this international event,” Webster Franklin, president and CEO of the Tunica Convention & Visitors Bureau, said. “Not only is Tunica the entrance to the Blues Highway 61, but it’s also the South’s Casino Capital, making it an entertaining destination for all visitors coming to this event.”

In previous years, viewers of the Blues Music Awards have seen the appearance of more than 60 nominees and almost 30 nominee sets, many with one of a kind pairings. The 2008 show can be expected to improve on these critically-acclaimed shows.

The event brings together Blues performers, industry representatives and fans from all over the world to celebrate the best in Blues recordings and performances from the previous year. Each year, the Foundation presents The Blues Music Awards to the artists selected by its members. They are universally recognized as the highest honor given to Blues artists.

The Blues Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony and Charter Member’s Dinner will be held the night before on Wednesday, May 7, at the Tunica Riverpark museum.

Tickets are available for purchase online at https://www.blues.org/tickets/bma.php. Also on the site, members are able to access the ballot to determine which of the nominees will be selected to receive the 25 Blues Music Awards. Rooms can also be booked now at the special Blues Music Award rate at Harrah’s Casino Tunica.

The Presenting Sponsor for the Blues Awards 2008 is The GIBSON Foundation. The Blues Music Awards are also sponsored by BMI, Casey Family Programs, Eagle Rock Entertainment, FedEx, and the Sierra Nevada Brewing Company.

In addition, Blues fans can be assured that many additional events will be scheduled in the area on the weekend after the official Blues Foundation events. For example, the State of Mississippi has created a Blues Trail for blues enthusiasts to travel along the Mississippi Blues Trail, walk where they walked, dance where they danced, and experience the blues where they were born. Visitors are invited to go an unforgettable journey and follow the Mississippi Blues trail, from street corners where blues musicians played for tips to places they called home and eventually to their final resting places. For more information, go to www.msbluestrail.org and start planning an authentic Blues experience now.