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Superstar Stuart to headline Homochitto

Country superstar Marty Stuart doesn’t know what he’s bringing to the stage Saturday at the Homochitto River Festival, but odds are it will not disappoint the thousands who will be packed into Meadville to hear him.

“We really and truly tend to pull into a place and see how it feels, look at the people, look at the surroundings and go inside the bus and create a set list to go out and play,” Stuart told The Daily Leader. “I kinda never know until I get there. Hopefully everybody will leave happy.”

Marty Stuart and His Fabulous Superlatives are headlining the show. They’ll be on the West Stage at 6 p.m. just after country legend Ronnie McDowell appears at 4 p.m. McDowell’s lead guitarist, James Ducker, is a Meadville native.

Entertainment chairman Larry Wallace said Stuart and McDowell along with more than 20 musical acts scheduled on three stages will be a huge draw for the free festival, which is hosted by the Franklin County Chamber of Commerce. The event regularly pulls in estimated crowds of more than 10,000 people to an event held in a county of just 8,000, according to the 2010 Census. That same census put Meadville at just over 400 people.

“This year we’re looking for an even bigger crowd,” Wallace said. “The Homochitto River Festival takes great pride in presenting such a large and diverse group of talent appearing in Franklin County and Meadville, and in Southwest Mississippi. Country, blues, easy listening, Americana, gospel, bluegrass, R&B and soul music will be professionally presented on our south, east and west stages.”

For a schedule of entertainment, visit homochittoriverfestival.com.

The festival is set up along Main Street in Meadville. Parking and admission to the festival is free and limited seating is available at each stage. Wallace encourages attendees to bring a folding chair to enjoy the shows.

Besides three stages of music, there will be an art show, and crafts booths, cook-off, trunk-or-treat, 5K and river race, pet parade, beauty contest, kids’ game area and food.

Stuart, a native of Philadelphia, hasn’t fished the Homochitto, yet. But he’s looking forward to playing music near it.

“It’s always an honor to get to come back into this state and play. It’s always an honor to come home and bring the music back to Mississippi,” he said. “We want to help people get away from their worries and their cares and whatever hassle they brought to the show with them. If we can do that for an hour or two, that’s what we’re supposed to do.”

Stuart puts on the type of show he remembers seeing as a young boy. He always looked forward to the musicians coming into Philadelphia to play.

“I saw their bus pull in and saw their costumes and got to shake hands with some of the band members and experience that whole circus come-to-town kind of atmosphere. That’s still a thing in small town America and I’ve never forgot that. I hope we bring that kind of excitement to town,” he said.

Stuart has played over 100 shows this year, 40 of those with the Steve Miller Band this summer. He’s working on two new albums he expects to be released next year.