Word of South Festival returns

Graphic courtesy: visitflorida.com

The Word of South: Festival of Literature & Music is happening this weekend featuring new artists and musicians. Furthermore, after having to cancel his performance in 2020 due to COVID, Grammy-award country singer Jamey Johnson will be performing this year.

The 2022 family-friendly festival lasts for three days and consists of various on-stage performances and appearances at different locations from people like award-winning environmental journalist Cynthia Barnett, Nat Adderley Jr. (Luther Vandross’ long-time musical director), singer and Leon County school teacher Avis Berry and Lindsey B. Sarjeant, chairman of the  FAMU music department a and professor.

Word of South Director Sara Marchessault spoke about the mission behind the joyous event.

“[The] Word of South is a celebration of literature and music,” Marchessault said. “Our mission is to add to the quality of life in Tallahassee by offering two days of unique events for community members and visitors. We partner with organizations to support literacy for children and families and all performances Saturday and Sunday are free and open to the public.”

The festival was held in 2021 but Johnson and many of the artists that were supposed to perform came back to perform this year. Another difference about this festival is that it didn’t have an artist reveal party, which happened before the actual festival. According to Marchessault, they were planning one for the end of January until COVID cases spiked in January.

This would technically be the eighth festival (since the 2020 festival was fully planned before the virus ruined it).

While festival events are free, the Johnson concert is not. Tickets to see the “In Color” singer can be found on the festival’s website along with the full schedule.

According to the director, a few changes have been made. Literacy Lane will be the children’s event noon to 3 p.m. Saturday. Children’s musician Jennifer Danils will be present, as well as Young Actors Theatre members. The Early Learning Coalition will be giving books away. A jazz tribute to Nat and Cannonball Adderley will be held Sunday. Lastly, people can expect an event featuring cookbook authors and musicians that will include performances and sample bites.

“To my Tallahassee neighbors, I would love to say ‘thank you’ for your continued support of the Word of South Festival,” Marchessault said. “We’re thrilled to host DJ Demp, Tareek Knockout, Star Swain, Allison Russell, Joy Harjo and Larry Mitchell, and many others. Come out and join us.”