What started as a fan celebration honoring Tina Turner's childhood school, Flagg Grove, has developed into an annual festival observing the heritage and legacy of the international music icon. Tina Turner Heritage Days will be held September 27-28 at the Delta Heritage Center in Brownsville, Tenn. The event will include tours, concerts and a stew competition.
Friday night is Fan Appreciation Night and includes a reception and exhibit of Tina posters. A documentary titled "From Muskogee to Nutbush" will follow. The film, made during the 2012 visit to Nutbush by a group of young artist from Muskogee, Ok., creates a parallel between the two cities, including their struggles with adversity and segregation and highlights the common bond that is part of the journey - music.
Wrapping up the Friday evening activities is Norwegian Bluesman Knut Roppestad. Born and raised in Horton, Norway, he began his American adventures in the 1980s and continues to travel and perform in the U.S. at every opportunity. "I've been a long time fan of Tina Turner since seeing her live in Oslo," says Roppestad. "I promise a steamy version of 'Steamy Windows' for the fans."
Saturday's festivalgoers can choose between tours of Nutbush, Turner's childhood home, and painting an abstract of Tina on vinyl. The smell of stew will fill the air as teams compete for the title of "Stewmaster" and live music from the Spotlight Rising Stars of Muskogee, will entertain between 11 a.m. - 2 p.m.
The festival concludes with a Tribute performance at the Ann Marks Performing Arts Center in Brownsville's Historic District. Former Flagg Grove School student Lollie Mann will open the show with original gospel numbers and share her memories of time spent at Flagg Grove. Following Mann is Music Highway Band. This Jackson, Tenn., group has performed together since 2001, and have worked with such legendary performers as Carl Mann and Eddie Bond, developing their own special blend of rockabilly and country.
Rhythm and blues performer Dorothy Cole will headline the show. Energetic and fun, Cole began her career as a tribute artist in 1993 when she won a Tina look-a-like contest while performing Proud Mary. Since then, she has performed all over the country and in England where she shared the stage with Rod Stewart during a special performance tribute to Tina. A Chattanooga native and Decatur, Ala., resident, Cole appeared in Haywood County for the 2002 dedication of Highway 19 as "Tina Turner Highway."
"I'm excited about being back in Brownsville," says Cole. "Performing in Tina's hometown is always a privilege and I'm especially excited to be a part of the first Tina Turner Heritage Days."
The Saturday evening concert begins at 7 p.m. Tickets and more information, including a complete schedule of events, can be found on the festival website: www.tinaturnerheritagedays.com, or by contact the Delta Heritage Center at 731-779-9000.