Tribute to legendary baseball family
Blues icons Bobby “Blue” Bland and Percy Sledge come together in concert next month in Columbus, Miss., to honor one of major league baseball’s legendary families.
The Oct. 16 “Legends” concert at Columbus’ scenic Riverwalk outdoor concert stage along the banks of the Tombigbee River will thrill both music and baseball fans, closing out a four-day tribute to Sam Hairston, a Negro Leagues great who broke the color barrier with the Chicago White Sox.
Sledge, whose soulful voice and ballads are recognized worldwide, is a member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the Louisiana Music Hall of Fame, as well as the winner of the W.C. Handy Blues Award and the Rhythm and Blues Foundation Pioneer Award.
Bland, a Blues Hall of Fame inductee who is known as the “Lion of the Blues,” has influenced the music of everyone from B.B. King to Van Morrison.
Gates open at 5 p.m.; the concert starts at 6:30 p.m. Big Ben Atkins and the Class of ’65, the popular West Alabama group that’s been entertaining crowds for more than 40 years, will open the show followed by Sledge, then Bland.
Tickets – $20 – are available at http://www.columbus-ms.org or at the gate. Bring your lawn chairs and blankets. No coolers allowed but beer, food and soft drinks will be sold.
VIP tickets also are available for $100 and include autographs and pictures, mingling with the music and baseball legends and stars, food, drinks and big-screen TVs for watching sports events.
In Columbus, tickets also can be purchased at the Tennessee Williams Welcome Center, Main Street Columbus, Columbus-Lowndes Recreation Authority, Bryan’s Record and Pet Center and Legends bar.
For information on the concert or the Sam Hairston Celebration, call (800) 920-3533 or visit www.columbus-ms.org.
Hairston, who grew up just outside Columbus, had two sons who played in the majors and his grandsons, Scott and Jerry Hairston Jr., are members of this year’s division-contending San Diego Padres.
Of the three families who’ve had three generations play in the major leagues, the Hairstons are the only to have five members in that rare group.