FestivalSouth to feature 50 live events

Published 11:02 pm Monday, April 15, 2024

The immensely popular FestivalSouth® brings more than 50 live art, music, theatre, and dance events to the Hattiesburg area May 28 through June 22, 2024. Featuring many University of Southern Mississippi (USM) faculty, alumni, students, and staff, the festival has become a mainstay, offering opportunities to performers and audiences alike.

Grouped around the 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.

“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,” said Artistic Director Dr. Mike Lopinto. “Every year, their support and our incredible community provides well-produced, top-quality events that are designed to entertain and educate a wide variety of people,”

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The opening weekend begins with the Broadway smash hit, “Jersey Boys.” The title sponsor, once again this year, is Hancock Whitney Bank. They are joined by Visit Mississippi, Visit Hattiesburg, and Lisa and Rick Conn. This collaborative effort allows the festival to present this production at a fraction of the cost to audience members.

With phenomenal music, memorable characters, and great storytelling, “Jersey Boys” goes behind the music and inside the story of Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons in this true-life musical phenomenon. The incredible Hub City Players return to take you from the streets of New Jersey to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. While their harmonies were perfect on stage, off stage it was a very different story — a story that has made them an international sensation all over again.

The second weekend FestivalSouth welcomes hometown gold medalist Alexei Orohovsky, joined by the companies of Ballet Mississippi and South Mississippi Ballet in “Crowning Glory – A Night at the Ballet.” Be a part of this extraordinary evening of dance and homecoming evening as they perform the “Grand Pas Classique” from “Paquita” and two new and exciting contemporary works for the stage.

Next, “The Mahler Experience” invites audiences to immerse themselves in music that embodies a level of profundity that has seldom been reached and arguably never surpassed. Considered by many to be the premier composer in the history of symphonic music, Gustav Mahler composed “The Song of the Earth as an orchestral song cycle, or “Song Symphony;” it is one of his final works.

Arnold Schoenberg, another giant among classical music composers and a friend of Mahler’s, created a reduced version of this masterpiece, which will be performed at the festival. Presented in partnership with Hattiesburg Clinic, USM College of Arts and Sciences, and the Arts Institute of Mississippi, this is the first performance of this work in Mississippi.

Featuring the FestivalSouth Chamber Players; Myka Murphy, mezzo soprano; Jonathan Yarrington, tenor; Ward Emling, narrator; and Jay Dean, conductor, this is an evening of musical mastery you will want to experience!

Also, that weekend, coffee concerts begin Thursday and Fridays at 9 a.m.; the FestivalSouth World Championship Golf Classic returns to Canebrake Country Club; Bach to Bizet: Transcriptions for the King of Instruments, featuring Derrick Meador, organ, pipes in music for the afternoon on Friday; Southern Nights at Summer Tunes for a Friday night of non-stop country music; the Dog Days walk and run returns early Saturday; and the Premier Orchestral Institute Master Camerata joins the festival for a Sunday afternoon of music from an international assemblage of performers.

The third weekend continues a partnership with the City of Hattiesburg and the Saenger. New York-based indie-pop band MisterWives brings their sunny, synth-heavy grooves and endlessly entertaining live show to FestivalSouth. Their sounds have made them a staple of the indie-rock scene for more than a decade.

Consisting of lead singer Mandy Lee, percussionist Etienne Bowler, bassist William Hehir, guitarist Marc Campbell and saxophonist Mike Murphy, the band exploded on social media gaining  immense support from fans and landing them on streaming service playlists. Now, our audiences get to experience them live.

Also, celebrating the 100th anniversary of “Rhapsody in Blue,” enjoy “Fascinating Rhythm” with the FestivalJazz Players Thursday night and on Friday, sip a cool one at the return of our popular “Beertoven,” this year dubbed “Untapped.” Wrap up the weekend on Sunday with our sister organization, The Meistersingers in a concert featuring music “…About Love.”

The finale weekend finds FestivalFavorite, Theresa Sanchez, in a program entitled “Masterful Tapestries – the Art of the Piano Quintet” featuring music of Schumann and Brahms. Then, soprano Betsy Uschkrat invites audiences to a “summer in the South,” featuring music by Barber and Heggie. It’s a Classical music-lover’s dream

A cast of incredible singers joins the FestivalOrchestra as Forrest General presents “Journey On,” a Symphonic Experience to commemorate Journey’s more than 50 years of music. A meteoric force in the stadium rock scene, Journey ensured their legacy in rock ‘n’ roll history using a mix of musical virtuosity, soaring balladry, and undeniable appeal.

Journey’s anthems can still be heard today playing regularly during sports games, campaign tours, singing competitions and many other big moments in life. Presented in  partnership with the City of Hattiesburg, Cadence Bank, and Southern Beverage, don’t miss this one-night-only FestivalFinale.

Beyond the spectacular weekend offerings, Mississippi Made & More presents Artie Events for Families on Monday, Wednesday and Saturday throughout the festival. Presented in partnership with Corner Market, Lamar County, these daytime educational events, created with special consideration of the specific learning styles of children ages 2-12, appeal to the entire family.

They provide opportunities for participants to fully experience the arts through all senses, often with hands-on opportunities. Artie events is a great way to engage children, encouraging an appreciation for the arts through education, and planting seeds for future arts enthusiasts.

Also, a significant uptick in the quality and quantity of art exhibits and offerings comes as local artist Andrea Kostyal takes the helm as FestivalArt Coordinator. Showcasing artists from around the corner to around the world, FestivalSouth, provides access to both the artists and works of art.

This year, that includes offerings from the Mississippi Latinx Art Association and Southeastern Native American art to name a few. Featured artist Adam Trest lends his work to both the festivals’ commemorative painting, which is available for auction with proceeds benefiting the festival, and exhibition at the Downey Gallery at University Baptist Church.

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, and Instagram.

About Festival South

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’ 15th season, FestivalSouth is credited with bringing more than $1.5 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.