April 21, 2019  

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Lineup Announced for WUSM’s Leaf River Fall Fests

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WUSM-FM will host the Leaf River Fall Fests at Hattiesburg's Chain Park in September and October, featuring a wide variety of musical acts (photo by Kim Pluskota).

WUSM FM-88.5 radio station at The University of Southern Mississippi (USM) invites residents from the surrounding area and beyond to celebrate the vibrant culture of the Pine Belt region at the Leaf River Fall Fests at Chain Park in Hattiesburg, occurring the Saturdays of Sept. 8 and 29, and Oct. 6, 13 and 27.  

These free, family-friendly events will celebrate an array of music genres this fall, with each festival highlighting a specific genre of music and culture, from Latin to Folk and everything in between.

The Leaf River Fall Fests are a collaboration between WUSM – FM 88.5, the USM School of Communication, the city of Hattiesburg, the Historic Hattiesburg Downtown Association, and the Petal Chamber of Commerce, and are sponsored in part by the Mortimer & Mimi Levitt Foundation, a national funder of creative placemaking that empowers communities to inject new life into underused public spaces through free, outdoor concerts.  

In the summer of 2017, Hattiesburg was named one of 15 small to mid-sized towns and cities across America to win a Levitt AMP [Your City] Grant Award of $25,000 in matching funds to present a free concert series at Chain Park. Created through a partnership between Mass Communication and Journalism at USM, the city of Hattiesburg and the Hattiesburg Arts Council, the success of the Levitt AMP Hattiesburg series brought forth the idea of the Leaf River Fall Fests.

Kicking off the series on Saturday, Sept. 8 will be the El Grito Latin Festival, followed by Roots Fest Sept. 29; Mobile Street Fest on the River Oct. 6; Future Fest, featuring pop rock music Oct. 13; and Harvest Fest, featuring Americana, bluegrass and folk music Oct. 27.

“It is the goal of the Leaf River Fall Fests to include as much community as possible - which is why we are partnering with El Grito Latin Fest, bringing back a Roots Reunion type of series “Roots Fest”, and working with the Historic Hattiesburg Downtown Association and the Petal Chamber of Commerce,” said Jonathan Pluskota, recording industry assistant professor at USM and producer of the Leaf River Fall Fests. “We want these mini-festivals to highlight the variety of music, food, art, and business in the region.”

The public is invited to bring their own blankets and lawn chairs to the concerts at Chain Park, with entrances off either 8th Street or Highway 42, and an open lawn setting. There will be food and drink vendors on site as well as specialty products, art markets, activities and contests. Each event will begin at 3 p.m., when attendees will be treated to music from WUSM and opening bands as they enjoy culturally significant vendors and activities, and the musical headliner for each fest will perform starting at 7:30 p.m. Admission is free.

For more information on each festival, or for information on how to sponsor or be a vendor at the Leaf River Fall Fests, visit www.southernmissradio.com or listen to WUSM FM-88.5.