Oxford is celebrating the 26th annual award-winning Double Decker Arts Festival this weekend that pays homage to local food, art and music — and of course, the city’s iconic double decker buses.
The red double-decker bus, imported from England in 1994, serves as the inspiration and centerpiece of the two-day celebration that takes place in the historic Courthouse Square.
Now the recipient of more than 25 awards, including the 2022 Best Large Festival by the Mississippi Tourism Association, Best Festival by Mississippi Magazine and a Top 20 event by the Southeast Tourism Society, Double Decker brings in over 75,000 attendees for a weekend celebrating food, music and the arts.
Beginning with the 2015 event, each year a local artist is selected from multiple submissions to be featured as the festival’s “official art,” which is printed on the festival t-shirts, posters and light pole banners that are displayed around the downtown square.
Grammy award-nominated artist, performer and songwriter, Marcus King, will be this year’s headliner on Saturday night.
The featured artist is Blake Gore. Gore grew up in North Mississippi and attended school at the University of Mississippi. Before he embarked upon his art career, Gore worked as a career coach and instructor for universities. It was during his time at Vanderbilt University that Gore began drawing miniature artwork using a .15mm pen and received a great response from the public.
Although Gore hasn’t considered himself an artist very long, he first exhibited at the Double Decker Arts Festival in 2019. Since that time, Gore has grown his business to 20-30 shows per year across the country, but still considers Double Decker as his favorite show.
A Southern showcase – from tempting tasty bites to inspiring one-of-a-kind art.
Like any respected Southern tradition, the festival has grown while preserving its original integrity and charm. Food vendors offer tried and true Southern sensations, from snow cones to freshly fried fish to pizza by the slice, all from local vendors – many offering a specialty item that can only be found during the event.
Juried by a panel of local artists, the artist showcase brings more than 140 arts vendors to the event, spanning a variety of media including drawings, glass, jewelry, mixed media, painting, photography, print-making and sculpture.
The art vendor showcase is only on Saturday, but the Oxford Artist Guild will be set up on Friday in the Boles Wiley Alley on the Square for a preview.
On Saturday, The Graduate Oxford Kid Zone will be located in the Lafayette County Chancery Building parking lot from 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. The cost is $20 per child to enter into the Kid Zone.
Local bespoke denim outfitter Blue Delta Jeans Company will host their “Blues Delta Blues Alley” in the alley located beside The Lyric from 12-4 p.m.
This year, featured artists will include Mac and Lucy, Joe Austin and the Tallahatchies, Honey Island Swamp Band and Mr. Sipp.
Jim Belushi to visit Oxford
Performer, medical cannabis advocate and Belushi’s Farm founder Jim Belushi will be making a public appearance at the Double Decker Arts Festival on April 29.
Southern Sky Brands, a Mississippi provider of plant-based medicine, will have a VIP booth on the Square, and Belushi will be there signing autographs and taking photos with the public from 2 to 4 p.m. on that Saturday.
Belushi will be in town promoting season 3 of his show “Growing Belushi” on Discovery.
Double Decker Arts Festival has an amazing weekend of music planned for Friday night and all day Saturday.
Click here to read about the headliners for Friday and Saturday.
Click here to read about the other bands and solo performers
Full Musical Lineup
9:00 PM – Ashley McBryde
7:45 PM – Chapel Hart
6:15 PM – The Stews
8:30 p.m. – Marcus King
6:30 p.m. – Blackberry Smoke
5 p.m. – Lissie
3:30 p.m. – Southern Avenue
2 p.m. – Sensational Barnes Brothers
12:30 p.m. – Vieux Farka Touré
11 a.m. – The Mississippians Jazz Ensemble
The festival’s 2023 Presenting Sponsor is the University of Mississippi Museum gifted to them by Ole Miss Athletics. Nicholas Air is the stage sponsor and Faulkner Sponsors include Specialty Orthopedic Group and NE Sparc.
The Double Decker Arts Festival has a new app available to download from both the App Store and Google Play.
The free app has the full schedule of musical acts, interactive maps, shuttle information, locations of all the artists at the festival and their booth numbers, links to social media pages and suggested hashtags and a full FAQ page of all things Double Decker.
Click here to download the new DDAF app.
Courtesy of Visit Oxford. News Editor Alyssa Schnugg contributed to this story.