Downtown Columbus Gets the Blues at Catfish in the Alley

Charlie BentonRyan Perry entertaining the crowd

Features Editor

Catfish in the Alley was held on April 11 in Catfish Alley. The small festival, which lasted from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., featured live blues music, vendors and food.

Performing artists included Big Joe Shelton, Terry “Harmonica” Bean, Homemade Jamz and Grady Champion.

“I loved it,” said Taya Perry, drummer for the Tupelo based Homemade Jamz. “The sound was great.”

Perry also added that she loved how energetic the festival was.

“The festival was great,” said Ryan Perry, Taya’s older brother and guitarist and singer for Homemade Jamz. “If they [the audience] have a good time, we have a good time.”

Indeed, the audience did have a good time. Many audience members gathered around the stage, and a few even danced to the music. The crowd watched in awe as the elder Perry jumped off the stage and walked out into the audience, playing a solo on his muffler-shaped guitar.

Later in the afternoon, Grady Champion entertained the crowd with his soulful blues music and Motown covers.

Vendors were on hand selling gumbo, barbecue, fried catfish, funnel cakes and other foods. Others sold arts and crafts including wood carvings, Native American flutes, wind chimes and quilts.

The festival drew a moderate crowd, the majority of which seemed to be taking it easy and enjoying the music and food.

“It’s the first time I’ve been. I enjoyed it,” said Nancy Hendrix, a resident of Columbus who had come to the festival.

Hendrix also said that it was the blues music that had drawn her to the event.

The festival was held partially to honor the heritage of Catfish Alley, which in the past was a major African-American hub for the region.