April 19, 2022

Hattiesburg’s FestivalSouth returns with Four Fantastic Weekends

Mary Apel

FestivalSouth® returns to live and streaming events for its 13th season, opening June 2 and continuing through June 25. Grouped around the four weekends in June, art, music, theatre, and dance events are planned each Thursday through Sunday, with Artie Events for Families primarily earlier in the week. Tickets and information on both live and virtual events are available now at FestivalSouth.org.

“We are thrilled to be completely back on stages, in galleries, and venues across the Pine Belt,” said Dr. Mike Lopinto, co-artistic director of FestivalSouth. “Once again, we have listened to our attendees and modified the schedule to offer weekends packed with activities for all ages and tastes.”

While a complete listing of the month-long festival is available online, the opening weekend includes the special engagement of the Tony and Olivier Award-winner, The Play That Goes Wrong. A FestivalFavorite, the Hub City Players, presents this hysterical comedy from the producer of Avenue Q, Something Rotten! and producer J.J. Abrams (who we can only assume lost a bet).

This hilarious comedy is a hybrid of Monty Python and Sherlock Holmes and invites the audience to the opening night of “The Murder at Haversham Manor” where things are quickly going from bad to utterly disastrous. With an unconscious leading lady, a corpse that can’t play dead, and actors who trip over everything (including their lines), it’s “A riotous explosion of comedy!” (The Daily Beast) and “Tons of fun for all ages!” (HuffPost).

This year’s FestivalArt features watercolorist Darryl Anderson who will open his exclusive show at the Eureka School. Artie Events for Families kick off as Lamar County presents Kids’ Arts Festival at St. Fabian Catholic Church. The first FestivalMusic events features pianist Zhaolei Xie in a program at University Baptist Church.

The second weekend really turns up the music and features Coffee Concerts; the long-awaited performance of the Alias Brass at Parkway Heights United Methodist Church; Romantic Transcriptions for flute and piano featuring Danilo Mezzadri and Elizabeth Moak; Downtown Summertunes featuring the Big Fun Brass Band; the Dog Days 5K Run and 2-Mile Walk; and Artie in the Alley at the Pocket Museum.

The Hub City Players return with a special tribute entitled, Sincerely, Stephen Sondheim that features jazz arrangements of the master’s catalog and the Meistersinger’s perform the timeless Brahms’ Requiem.

Juneteenth and Father’s Day weekend continues with even more special events! Coffee Concerts continue; Mr. Showmanship features the piano virtuoso David Maiocco as Liberace; the FestivalSouth World Championship Golf Classic; soprano Meredith Johnson and pianist Joe Brumbelo present Hidden Gems; Artie invites families to create Percussion Sounds at Kamper Park and celebrate royally at Beam Park in Sumrall.

The Hattiesburg Craft Beer Festival again finds its home at FestivalSouth and a very special Sunday afternoon with Ora Reed and Larry Robbins closes out the third weekend with a special Juneteenth event and a chance to see the FestivalExhibit at the Eureka School.

The FestivalFinale weekend kicks off with Coffee Concerts; FestivalFavorites Theresa Sanchez and Rachel Ciraldo and friends in Virtousic Chamber Masterworks at First Presbyterian Church; Cuban pianist Dario Martin presents The Art of Seduction and Columbia sees the wrap up of Artie Events for Families.

The festival ends with as big a bang as it started as Forrest General presents Forever: The Music of Queen, A Symphonic Rock Concert. Our FestivalFinale will feature the amazing lead vocalist Michael Muenchow Rivera, a virtuoso rock band, eight wonderful background singers, and the FestivalOrchestra performing Queen’s greatest hits arranged especially for FestivalSouth audiences. With music including “Under Pressure, Stone Cold Crazy, We Will Rock You, We Are the Champions, Fat Bottom Girls, Crazy Little Thing Called Love” and, of course, “Bohemian Rhapsody.”

“If you loved last year’s finale, Downtown Motown Revival, you can’t miss this!” said Jay Dean, founding artistic director of the festival.

A significant cultural and economic driver for the Pine Belt, FestivalSouth calls on the community to join them and show their resilience by participating and supporting the arts of this and other organizations by their visible attendance in the theater, or via their digital devices. Performances are nominally priced, or free to encourage the largest turnout possible. Advance tickets to public events are strongly recommended as venue capacities may cause sell-outs.

“We are so appreciative of the ongoing involvement of our Hattiesburg/Forrest County entities such as The University of Southern Mississippi, the City of Hattiesburg, Forrest County, Lamar County, William Carey University, and others. As the most extensive multi-genre arts festival in the state, each year we try to provide events that are appealing to a wide variety of people. Our events are well-produced, top-quality events that are designed to uplift, educate, and entertain,” said Jay Dean, founding artistic director, and co-artistic director of FestivalSouth.

Generous sponsors and donors have made FestivalSouth possible for more than a decade. Now, more than ever before, they have invested again to be certain that the community remains a vibrant haven for the arts with FestivalSouth leading the way.

“Now is the time for us as a community to come together once again to show that our arts are vitally important to us,” said Amanda Powell, chairwoman of the Hattiesburg Concert Association, parent organization of FestivalSouth. “The arts have suffered a catastrophic blow forcing them out of existence in many cases. We have the ability to change that with our actions – and I urge you to start immediately.”

For more information, visit festivalsouth.org and social media including Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, and Twitter.


FestivalSouth, the largest project of the Hattiesburg Concert Association (HCA) that is celebrating its 25th Anniversary, 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. This year, celebrating its 13th anniversary, FestivalSouth is credited with bringing more than $2 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.

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