FestivalSouth: Four Fabulous Weekends in Hattiesburg
Brett Barnes 504.905.0505 | Mike Lopinto 601.329.1104
FestivalSouth® brings more than 50 live art, music, theatre, and dance events to the Hattiesburg area May 30 through June 24, 2023. Grouped around the four weekends, events are planned each Thursday through Sunday, with Artie Events for Families earlier in the week. Tickets and information are available now at FestivalSouth.org.
“As the most extensive multi-genre arts festival in the state, each year we provide well-produced, top-quality events that are designed to entertain and educate a wide variety of people,” said Artistic Director Dr. Mike Lopinto. “The shared investment of our community, including the City of Hattiesburg, Forrest County, The University of Southern Mississippi, the City of Hattiesburg, Lamar County and a vast network of business and individual sponsors and donors represent an ongoing mission to enrich the area with the arts.”
While a complete listing of the month-long festival is available at festivalsouth.org, the opening weekend centers around the family. Forrest General Hospital and Hancock Whitney Bank proudly invite the public to ‘Be Our Guest’ this summer at “Beauty and the Beast,” the most enchanted musical of all time. In celebration of the musical’s 30th anniversary, the Hub City Players present this beloved ‘tale as old as time’ in epic fashion May 30 – June 3 in the Mannoni Performing Arts Center on the campus of The University of Southern Mississippi.
This year’s FestivalArt features fiber artist Martha Ginn who will open her exclusive show of art quilts in the Downey Gallery at University Baptist Church. Artie Events for Families kick-off at St. Fabian Catholic Church on June 3 and on June 4, a very special silent movie event accompanied on the Robert Morgan pipe organ the historic Saenger Theatre with opportunities for fun at the Pocket Museum.
The second weekend really turns up the music and features a chamber music experience, “American Landscape” and “Red, White and Bourbon” at the historic Hattiesburg Train Depot. FestivalFavorites Rachel Ciraldo, flute and Theresa Sanchez, piano are joined by special guest conductor, Jay Dean, on a program including a piano quintet by Arthur Foote, “Appalachian Spring” by Aaron Copland, and “American Canvas” for flute, cello, and piano by Pulitzer Prize and 3-time Grammy Award-winner, Jennifer Higdon. The event is partnered with a wine and Bourbon pairing option.
Also, that weekend, “An Evening with Ella Fitzgerald” featuring sensational vocalist Katrina Cox and the David Pellow trio; “Songs of Loss and Love” with tenor, Jonathan Yarrington; Downtown Summer Tunes featuring the Hattiesburlesque House Band; the Dog Days 5K run and 2-mile walk; and Hattiesburg’s Civic Chorus, The Meistersingers, present James Mulholland’s “Missa Romantica” on June 11.
Juneteenth and Father’s Day weekend continues with even more special events! On the heels of performances at festivals including Bonnaroo, Lollapalooza, and Forecastle, Matt Maeson, comes to FestivalSouth for a one-night-only concert event. Rocking the historic Hattiesburg Saenger Theatre on June 17. The chart-topper is presented by FestivalSouth, Hattiesburg Saenger Theater and City of Hattiesburg. Later that evening, enjoy “Celebración Nocturna.” Presented in part by Southern Eye Center and featuring Arrebato Orquesta all the way from Ecuador, this Latin band will help you dance the night away!
Also, that weekend test your skill at the FestivalSouth World Championship Golf Classic or wet your whistle and with a musical pairing at “Beertoven” on June 16. Adding to the events on the June 17 are the Columbia Kids’ Arts Festival, a concert by the FestivalSouth Youth Orchestra and USA Dance’s June Social Dance. On Sunday, June 18, A very special performance of “Voices of Freedom” explores Black culture and the civil rights movement through stories, spoken word, and song with special guest, James Meredith, at the Historic Eureka School.
The FestivalFinale weekend has a special one-night-only performance of “Iconic: A Cirque Rock Symphonic Extravaganza.” World-class acrobats from Cirque de la Symphonie join the FestivalOrchestra and singers for one of the most dazzling FestivalFinale events ever! On June 24 at the Lake Terrace Convention Center, this spectacular event includes special appearances by Vasti Jackson, Barry Leach, and Michael Muenchow Rivera, who portrayed Freddie Mercury at last year’s electrifying Queen event. Guaranteed to rock the house as cirque performers soar above the audience, the set list includes Aerosmith, Bruno Mars, Earth Wind and Fire, Foreigner, Genesis, Gloria Estefan, James Brown, Journey, Led Zeppelin, Michael Jackson, Santana, Stevie Wonder, Sting, Styx, Whitney Houston, and many more!
The finale weekend also sizzles with “Too Darn Hot” featuring the Chip Herrington Jazz 5; “Odd Couples” featuring a bevy of talented musicians paired with guitar; the Legacy Actors Theatre Experience production of “Food Fiascos;” and “A Royal Celebration with Artie” in Sumrall.
“If you loved past year’s Motown and Queen finales, you can’t miss Iconic – the biggest show yet” said Jay Dean, Founding Artistic Director of the festival. A significant cultural and economic driver for the Pine Belt, FestivalSouth calls on the community to join them by participating and supporting the arts of this and other organizations by their visible attendance at events. Performances are nominally priced, or free to encourage the largest turnout possible. Advance tickets to public events are strongly recommended as the popular events sell-out quickly.
“The arts are vitally important to us as a community,” said Amanda Powell, chairwoman of the Hattiesburg Concert Association, parent organization of FestivalSouth. “Our mission to showcase the area’s arts and artists is no more apparent than in this epic summer showcase. ”
For more information, visit festivalsouth.org and social media including Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, and Twitter.
FestivalSouth, the largest project of the Hattiesburg Concert Association (HCA), is an annual, multi-week festival presenting a variety of musical and other arts-related entertainment that aims to transcend social, cultural, and economic lines. Celebrating its 14th anniversary, FestivalSouth is credited with bringing more than $2 million in economic impact to the community last year alone and has distinguished itself as the premier arts presenter in the region, drawing locals and tourists of all ages with its’ wide variety of cultural programming, that features exceptional performing and visual artists.