64 YEARS OF MUSIC – Meridian Star

Saturday’s cool weather and sunny skies brought a big crowd to the lawn of city hall in Meridian to take in the sights and sounds of the 64th Annual Jimmie Rodgers Music Festival.


Wynonna Judd

photos by Bill Graham / The Meridian Star

Country music singer Wynonna Judd leads her band The Big Noise through a song during the 64th Annual Jimmie Rodgers Music Festival on the lawn of city hall in Meridian Saturday night. The band headlined the long-running festival, which featured a wide range of musical acts. 


The two-day event, which pays homage to the Father of Country Music, featured Lydia Loveless, Charlie Worsham, Hayes Carll, Chris Knight and Reckless Kelly, with Wynonna & the Big Noise closing out the fest Saturday night. 

For some, the festival was a family affair. 

Eden Bobo of Meridian grew up coming to the annual concert. She’s not a big county music fan, but that didn’t stop her from bringing her son Axel to the fest, where he could run and play on the city hall lawn. She liked the family-friendly vibe. 

“I enjoy the people, the food and the atmosphere,” Bobo, 22, said. 



Johnnie Sue Evans, who saw Elvis Presley ride through Meridian in a pink cadillac during the Jimmie Rodgers Festival’s parade in 1955, brought her great-grandson Axel to Saturday’s concert.

Bobo was encouraged to come to the concert by her grandmother, Johnnie Sue Evans, who actually saw Elvis Presley ride through Meridian in a pink cadillac during the festival’s parade in 1955. Returning to the festival reminds Evans of those times, something she wanted to share with her granddaughter and great-grandson. 

“It takes me back to when I was young,” she said. 

“Best Day Ever”

Avid concert-goers BJ Scudder and her husband Derek drove two hours from Birmingham to take in both days of the fest. 

“We came last year, and had such a good time, we came back,” Mrs. Scudder, who was spotted dancing as the music played, said. “It’s been wonderful…it’s history, but it’s still relevant.” 

Corey Kingery’s family didn’t drive very far to take in the fest. The 11-year-old sat with her family, singing along with country singer Brandy Clark. 

“She was awesome, I loved her,” Kingery, a Russell Christian Academy student, said. “I’m having the best day ever.” 

Chris Peavey, a truck driver and huge fan of live music, had a good day as well. He came from Laurel just to see Saturday’s opener, Lydia Loveless.

“She’s incredible,” Peavey said of the singer-songwriter, who sported a cropped hairdo and Metallica t-shirt. “She’s got a pedal steel player in her band, but she rocks.” 


Charlie Worsham

Ellen Steinwinder of Brandon met Charlie Worsham after his set Saturday.  

Saturday was the second festival trip for teenagers Ellen Steinwinder and Riley Vance of Brandon. 

The friends agreed the fest wasn’t just for older music fans, and were just two of many teens seen enjoying the day. 

“I really like coming and seeing new singers,” Steinwinder, 16, said. “I listen to all kinds of music – country, rock, pop and rap– that’s why I like coming here; I get to see different kinds of music.”

After hearing Charlie Worsham, the duo quickly became enamored with the singer-songwriter, staking a spot in front of the stage to watch his set. They even got to meet him following his solo set. 

“I really didn’t know who he was was, but once I heard him singing, I came up to the front,” Steinwinder said. “I really like his music…I like that he interacts with the crowd.” 

Vance, 15, also enjoyed the day, especially seeing and hearing Worsham.

“He’s a great singer,” she said. “His voice is so smooth.” 


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