Hot music acts set soundtrack for Crawfish Fest

 Jeffrey James

The 24th annual Crawfish Music Festival has a list of headliners that will set the mood for eight fun-filled nights at the Coast Coliseum in Biloxi.

The festival kicked off Thursday night and will run through Sunday and again April 21 through 24 with a carnival midway, rides, live music and plenty of crawfish.

The music lineup is perhaps the most diverse ever, Coliseum Executive Director Matt McDonnell said. For a festival that prides itself on booking up-and-comers, it also is sprinkled with some established stars and has enough talent to keep the music playing from late afternoon to late at night.

Bryan Adams was scheduled to perform Thursday night, in an unrelated concert event. Adams canceled, he said in a statement, due to the state's approval of a religion-freedom bill that would allow some businesses to deny service to gay and transgender people.

Friday night brings the modern rock of X Ambassadors at 9:45 p.m. X Ambassadors meld hip-hop and guitar and have success with "Litost" and "Unsteady." The Easy Leaves will start things going at 6, followed by Paper Airplane and Jeffrey James.

Country music rules Saturday with headliner Travis Tritt performing at 9:15 p.m. Tritt was Billboard's top new male artist in 1990. His award-winning songs include "The Whiskey Ain't Working" and "Honky Tonkin's What I Do Best." The music will start at 4 p.m. with Cole Jones, followed by Carter Winter and Neal McCoy.

Sunday's lineup has a regional flair with the rambling blues of North Mississippi Allstars at 7:45 p.m. Also there will be two treats from New Orleans -- the soulful rock of The Revivalists and the funk rock of Flow Tribe. Local jams from Blackwater Brass will get things going at 2 p.m., followed by Chubby Carrier & the Bayou Swamp Band.

That's just the first week. The final weekend will feature country pop with headliner Frankie Ballard at 9:45 p.m. along with Devin Dawson, Lanco and Kelsea Ballerini on April 22.

On April 23, music will start at 2 p.m. with Big Al & the Heavyweights, followed by Christian Serpas & Ghost Town, Greg Martinez, The Last Bandoleros and Chris Janson. Headlining will be humor and parody act Bobby Bones & the Raging Idiots at 9:15 p.m.

Rap artists Juvenile (7:45 p.m.) and Mystikal (6:15) will raise the roof for the Sunday finale. The day will begin at 3:15 p.m. with Yungg V and Black Medallion.

Not to be upstaged, crawfish will grab the spotlight Sunday when teams compete for $4,000 in cash at the Crawfish Cook-Off. Public tasting is from 1 to 4 p.m. and tickets are $12.

Throughout the festival, the Craft Beer Garden will offer adult fun with beer, live music, karaoke and corn hole. There also are carnival rides and games for all ages. Arm bands for nonstop rides are offered for $25 on Thursday; from 5 to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday; and from 1 to 8 p.m. Sunday .Advance arm bands will be $5 off through April 18 via www.mscoastcoliseum.com.

Festival hours are 5 to 11 p.m. Thursday and 1 to 11 p.m. Fridays through Sundays.

General festival admission, which includes concert admission, is $15 for adults, $6 for ages 6-12, and free for children under age 6. A special admission price of $39 includes reserved seating or standing near the front of the stage, as available.

Tickets also may be purchased through www.ticketmaster.com or by calling 1-800-745-3000; both may include additional fees. All concerts are rain or shine. Parking is $5.

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