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Atwood festival scheduled for weekend

A pair of up-and-coming country music stars will headline areformed Atwood Music Festival in Monticello this weekend, withlocal demand bringing a third group back to the two-day concert forthe second consecutive year.

TV-made star Chris Young, winner of the “Nashville Star” talentcompetition in 2006, is scheduled as the main attraction foropening night Friday, while country and rap combination artist ColtFord will close out Saturday night. Crowd pleasers LoCash Cowboys,returning to the festival by request from last year, will followFord’s performance as the festival’s third headliner, with plentyof traveling and local bands filling out the rest of theschedule.

“I am excited about this lineup,” said Cindy Carr, the festival’sentertainment chairman. “We’ve really got a good mixture of it allwith these different bands.”

Music begins at the 36th annual Atwood festival Friday around 5:30p.m. and continues far into the night and next morning, whileSaturday’s performance kicks off at 3 p.m. Several food and artsand crafts vendors will populate the festival. Weekend passes maybe purchased in advance for $35 per adult and $25 per child, whiledaily tickets at the gate cost $20 per adult and $15 perchild.

Tickets are available at several locations around SouthwestMississippi, with a full list of outlets online atwww.atwoodmusicfestival.com.

Lawrence County’s own Joel Thames, Paula and the Harmony Rockets,with Joan, Joy and Hope will begin Friday night’s music at 5:40p.m., followed by Austin Davis at 6:45 p.m. Starkville’scountry-bluegrass band Nash Street performs at 7:05 p.m., andSumrall’s Shanna Welch goes onstage at 7:50 p.m. Brookhaven’smulti-music band Ghost Town performs at 8:20 p.m., and that city’syoung country singer Kelsey Ann Jackson opens up at 9:05 p.m.

Friday night headliner Chris Young takes the stage at 9:35 p.m.,and Collins group Cowboy Blues Band will provide socializing musicat 11 p.m.

Several hours and a few beers later, music resumes onSaturday.

Major Burnett opens the closing day’s schedule at 3 p.m., followedby Doug Duncan at 3:20 p.m. Breanna Hearn goes onstage at 4:15p.m., and Sumrall native Travis Clark performs at 4:40 p.m.Belzoni’s Callie Champion will play at 5:30 p.m., andMississippi-born but Louisiana-made band 484 South plays at 6:10p.m. Lawrence County daughter Margaret Phillips has the 7 p.m.slot.

Headliner Colt Ford performs at 7:35 p.m., followed by a fireworksshow. The musically flexible LoCash Cowboys go on at 9:40 p.m., andlocal band The Colonels will provide going home music at 11p.m.

All times are subject to minor changes.

The 2010 lineup was based primarily on local requests, which pouredin on the festival’s Facebook, MySpace and main websites, Carrsaid. After the requests came in, she investigated.

“Some friends of mine kept telling my about Colt Ford, so I got aticket to go see him,” she said. “He’s a country rapper, and I’mnot real fond of rap music, but I went to see him play and I cameout with his album. He puts on an excellent show, a greatentertainer. He doesn’t have a radio play, but he has a followinglike you wouldn’t believe, and he’s playing date after date allover the country.”

Festival organizers are hoping the Friday and Saturday nightlineups will please the crowd and sooth the pain of losing along-standing tradition – the Thursday night Atwood Idolcompetition. Atwood director Angela Calcote said Thursday nightevents were scrapped for 2010 to save money and strengthen theevent for following years.

“A lot of people were disappointed with that, but we felt likethat’s what we had to do this year. We’re just trying to get outfeet on solid ground,” she said. “Next year we’ll either add thatback or do more of a regional show for bands in the area.”

Calcote said Atwood has lost money in the past, put last year’sevent paid off and hopes are this year’s more streamlined show willadd to the profits. The lineup is popular, and booking costs havebeen lower than in previous years, she said.

“It comes and goes. You have good years and bad years,” shesaid.

Part of the proceeds from this year’s Atwood Music Festival will gotoward erecting a historical marker to signify Monticello’s placeon the Mississippi Blues Trail, Calcote said.