The Delta is the crucible in which the Blues was formed of heartache, joy, worry, hard times, lost love, late nights and boogie rhythms. There are many types of Blues, but they all owe their existence to the fertile soils you tread on here in the Mississippi Delta.
The Leland Blues Project depicts the great musical history of the area through a series of striking murals painted on downtown buildings. These often-photographed mural are a must-see when touring the Delta; they lead visitors to a variety of interesting shops and local craftspeople.
The Leland Blues Project sponsors the Annual Highway 61 Blues Festival, held the first Saturday in June and dedicated each year to its headlining musicians. On Sunday, the Holly Ridge Store hosts a blues jam like no other with some truly unique bands. The Highway 61 Blues Stage is now a part of the Mighty Mississippi Music Festival at Warfield Point in Greenville.
In the heyday of the blues, over 150 bluesmen lived within a 100-mile radius of Leland. This museum chronicles the story of the Delta Blues and the musicians who helped make it famous and features memorabilia from Little Milton, B.B. King, James “Son” Thomas, Bougaloo Ames, Eddie Cusic, and many others. Be greeted by Pat Thomas, son of legendary “Son” Thomas, a local bluesman, and ask him to draw you a cat head.
When the first Delta Bluesmen took Highway 61 to the industrial North to find work, they also took their music. Today, the music born in the Delta is revered worldwide and recognized as the roots of jazz, rock and roll, rhythm and blues, and hip hop. The Delta Blues Festival, held in Washington County each September, along with the Highway 61 Blues Festival in Leland each June, attracts music fans from all over the world.