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Double Decker Arts Festival Music, Poster Revealed

By Alyssa Schnugg
News Editor
alyssa.schnugg@hottytoddy.com


Video by Talbert Toole

The Grammy award-winning band Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit will be this year’s headliner at the 24th Annual Double Decker Arts Festival.

Taking its name from the town’s authentic double-decker bus imported from England in 1994, the two-day festival has become a regional tourist attraction that brings in visitors from hundreds of miles away. Yet, it has also managed to retain the local festival vibe, and it’s still a place where people come each year to see familiar friendly faces, listen to great music, buy some one-of-a-kind art and sample Oxford’s well-known food offerings.

On Thursday, Visit Oxford revealed the musical lineup for the festival during a press conference as well as the official poster created by Oxford resident Vicki Stevens, a colorful piece of artwork that features the iconic double decker bus with the Lafayette County Courthouse in the background.

“The (Double Decker) bus has such a big personality that I feel when people leave Oxford and come back and run into the bus again on campus or on the Square, it’s almost like running into an old friend,” Stevens said Thursday.

Stevens’ work was selected from several submissions to be featured as the festival’s “official art,” which is printed on the festival T-shirts and posters. This year’s event will be held on April 26 and 27.

The festival’s 2019 Presenting Sponsor is the University of Mississippi Museum that was gifted to them by Ole Miss Athletics.

Ross Bjork, Vice Chancellor for Intercollegiate Athletics, said the gift was to help share awareness about the museum and unify the Oxford-Lafayette-University communities.

“The best way we can show leadership is to serve others,” Bjork said at the press conference. “We have the ability to do that. Let’s partner with another entity on our campus that means so much and give more attention to our museum and drive more people to it.”

It’s the third year Ole Miss Athletics has “purchased” the presenting sponsorship on behalf of the museum.

“Double Decker presenting status generally means such a great deal to all of us here,” said Museum Director Robert Saarnio. “We’re proud, we’re honored and we’re beyond excited.”

Mayor Robyn Tannehill thanked Visit Oxford and its staff, including Director Mary Allyn Hedges and Double Decker Coordinator Lee Ann Stubbs for their hard work in putting on the festival.

“When I wake up on Double Decker morning, it’s like Christmas morning,” Tannehill said, who started the first Double Decker festival 24 years ago. “The first year, we were putting together homemade signs about now … Year one, we really thought we hit a home-run with 9,000 people and last year, we had more than 60,000 and I’m excited to see what happens this year.”

The Ole Miss Student Activities Association is sponsoring the stage and the headline act this year.

Rosa Salas, student director of the SAA, said this is the second year SAA has collaborated with the Double Decker Arts Festival, providing funding for the headline band.

“For this opportunity, we are showcasing our strong connections to the city of Oxford and Visit Oxford, as well as providing quality entertainment for the Ole Miss students,” Salas said.

The weekend kicks off on Friday, April 26 with the Thacker Mountain Radio hour that will be presented on the stage on North Lamar Boulevard. The show will begin with a performance by musician Lilly Hiatt at 6 p.m., followed by the special edition of the radio show at 7 p.m. and musician Eric Gales closing the show 8 p.m.

To start off the main event Saturday morning Muy Caliente will perform at 10:15 a.m. Oxford’s own Thacker Mountain Director Kate Teague who will perform at 11:30 a.m. Following Teague is Grammy-nominated blues artist Cedric Burnside at 1 p.m. Emily King performs at 2:30 p.m. with Durand Jones and the Indications take the state at 4 p.m. Going into the night portion of the acts, Lucero takes the stage at 5:30 p.m. At 7 p.m. Shovels and Rope performs.

Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit are this year’s headline act. Photo provided by VIsit Oxford

Double Decker’s headliner Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit will take the stage at 8:45 p.m. Their latest album “The Nashville Sound earned Isbell his first CMA Award nomination. It was nominated for Album of the Year at the 2017 ceremony and won Best Americana Album at the 2018 Grammy Awards and International Album of the Year at the 2018 UK Americana Awards.

In addition to music, there will be more than 130 art vendors from around the region selling creative wares for the anticipated 60,000 festival attendees. Selected by Oxford’s Yoknapatawpha Arts Council, the vendors include drawings, glass, jewelry, mixed media, painting, photography, printmaking and sculptures.

Dozens of food vendors will also be set up around the Square offering favorites and new, specialty dishes that are only served at the festival.

But before food, music and art on Saturday, visitors can get a healthy start to their Double Decker day with the annual Spring Run 5K and 10K runs and the Kids Fun Run, presented by Baptist Memorial Hospital-North Mississippi and the Oxford-Lafayette Chamber of Commerce.

“I’ve seen this event grow from around 400 registered runners in 2003 to anticipated, record-breaking 1,800 racers this year,” said Pam Swain, Chamber senior vice president. “We want to encourage our community and visitors to start of their day with a healthy jump-start.”

To read more about the Double Decker bands, click here.

For more information on the festival, visit www.doubledeckerfestival.com.

Double Decker Music Schedule
Friday, April 26, 2019
8 P.M.- Eric Gales
7 P.M.- Thacker Mountain Radio Hour
6 P.M.- Lily Hiatt
Saturday, April 27, 2019
8:30 P.M.- Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit
7 P.M.- Shovels and Rope
5 P.M.- Lucero
4 P.M.- Durand Jones and the Indications
2:30 P.M.- Emily King
1 P.M.- Cedric Burnside
11:30 A.M.- Kate Teague
10:15 A.M.-Muy Caliente


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