Full of natural beauty and historic landmarks, Mississippi is a destination that attracts many travelers. But did you know the state is also home to a strong music legacy? Known as the Birthplace of America's Music, Mississippi paved the path for modern music with its seminal contributions to blues, rock, country and gospel. No matter your favorite genre, Mississippi is the place to be for live music festivals, famous museums and more. Let these 10 music destinations help you plan your next trip to the South:
1. Mighty Mississippi Music Festival
The Mighty Mississippi Music Festival is three days of blues, rock and heritage music in Greenville, Mississippi at Warfield Point Park. Held September 30 - October 2, 2016, the festival features world-class acts and some of the most popular Americana and Bluegrass bands, with the Mississippi River as a beautiful backdrop. This year's performers include G. Love and Special Sauce, Ryan Bingham, Steve Azar and The Kings Men, The Revivalists and Maren Morris.
2. Americana Music Triangle
Nine distinct musical genres came to life in the Americana Music Triangle, including blues, jazz, country and rock and roll. The Gold Record Road is 1,500 miles of driving trails with hundreds of attractions that let you experience the places where music made history. Pick your driving itinerary or plan an adventure along the entire route.
3. Mississippi Blues Trail & Country Music Trail
Pack a bag and get ready for the road trip of a lifetime. Made up of around 150 markers around the state, the Mississippi Blues Trail commemorates the area that gave birth to the blues. Meanwhile, the Country Music Trail is the pathway to country music's deep roots. Trail markers share exclusive music history that you can't find anywhere else.
4. GRAMMY Museum Mississippi
Newly opened in Cleveland, Mississippi, the GRAMMY Museum Mississippi is the first GRAMMY Museum outside of Los Angeles. This museum presents visitors with a rich experience that explores current trends, music history and the story behind the creative process of recording. The 28,000 square foot space is full of interactive exhibits and displays. See outfits worn by celebrities like Cee Lo Green and Lady Gaga, and use a touchscreen table designed to look like the Mississippi River to explore Mississippi's influence on renowned musicians.
5. B.B. King Homecoming Festival
Held at the B.B. King Museum and Delta Interpretive Center in Indianola, Mississippi, The B.B. King Homecoming Festival celebrates the culturally rich heritage of the Mississippi Delta. The festival honors its namesake as an internationally renowned musician who not only influenced blues music, but the entire local culture. After B.B.'s passing in 2015, he was buried on the museum grounds. The museum is constructing a memorial garden for fans, who come from around the world, to pay their respects.
6. Tupelo Elvis Festival
Located in downtown Tupelo, not far from the birthplace of Elvis, the Tupelo Elvis Festival celebrates the impact of his music on the world. Each year's festival in early June hosts artists from across the nation for the Ultimate Elvis Tribute Contest. Enjoy local food vendors, a pet parade, beauty pageant, 5k run, disc golf and more.
7. Mississippi Delta Blues & Heritage Festival
The longest running blues festival in the nation, the Mississippi Delta Blues and Heritage Festival is known as the "king of blues festivals." Falling on the third Saturday in September and featuring blues artists from near and far, the festival has been one of the most popular events in Greenville since 1997. Since it began, it has attracted hundreds of thousands of fans from the world over.
8. Jimmie Rodgers Music Festival
In downtown Meridian, not far from the Jimmie Rodgers Museum, the Jimmie Rodgers Music Festival honors "The Father of Country Music" and is one of the longest running music festivals in the United States. At Green City Hall, this family-friendly event in May welcomes guests of all ages and features two days of musical acts from around the country.
9. Double Decker Arts Festival
Named for the Double Decker buses imported from England that tour visitors around town, the Double Decker Arts Festival in Oxford, Mississippi is a two-day celebration of food, music and the arts. Held in late April and centered around the historic Courthouse Square, the event hosts crowds of more than 60,000 people and 200 art and food vendors.
10. Music on the Mississippi Gulf Coast
The Mississippi Gulf Coast regularly draws well-known musical acts to its casino hotels, which include the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, Beau Rivage, and the IP Casino Resort. In the 1940s through the 1960s, musical greats like Etta James and Big Joe Turner performed at 100 Men Hall, which still hosts live music today. Also on the Mississippi Gulf Coast, you'll find the Crawfish Music Festival, which spans two weekends and includes a crawfish cook-off and a beer garden.
For more information on exploring the birthplace of America's music, visit: visitmississippi.org/americana.