County Road 11: History of the JRMF

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MERIDIAN, Miss. (WTOK) -- It may surprise you to learn that the Jimmie Rodgers Music Festival is the longest-running music festival in the United States. The history of the festival is featured this week on County Road 11.

(Photo Source: WTOK-TV)

The Jimmie Rodgers Festival has been around for a long time. In fact, it's currently the longest running music festival in the United States. After peaking in the 1980's, the festival has struggled to stay alive. However, in the past few years, the Jimmie Rodgers Foundation has been able to attract some bigger names, and the festival again appears to be on the uptick.

"At times in the past, it was a much bigger festival. We feel like this festival could become a much larger festival as long as we include the whole city and incorporate all that we have to offer," said board member Lee Thornton.

This year's festival will also mark the return of Meridian native Steve Forbert as he will be honored Saturday afternoon before performing a concert that evening at the historic Temple Theater.

"On Saturday, I think just after noon, he'll be placing his star downtown around Weidmann's," said Thornton. "That's exciting for Steve as well. Then he's gonna do a booksigning at the MAX following the placement of the star."

And for the first time, the Mississippi Arts & Entertainment Experience will be included as they host a few events along with other top venues in the downtown area.

"We really would like Jimmie Rodgers to incorporate these every year from now on," said Thornton. "We have great venues in Meridian and it just makes sense that we partner."

"It's not every city that has this kind of opportunity and a name like Jimmie Rodgers," said Ed Snodrgass, president of the Jimmie Rodgers Foundation. "We have it, so we can capitalize on that."

The Jimmie Rodgers Music Festival. Resurgent leadership, better known acts, and excellent venues. All of that will hopefully add up to huge crowds this weekend and help the festival becomes a premiere event in the Southeast.

The festival runs through Saturday at different venues in downtown Meridian.

For ticket prices and more info, www.visitjimmierodgers.com.