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Clarksdale attracts international visitors who want to learn more about blues and rock history

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Steve McShane, Sheila Robb, Denise McShane, Mark Robb, Karen Brown, and Garry Brown in front of Ground Zero Blues Club.

Alec Keyzer-Andre
Oxford Stories
agkeyzer@go.olemiss.edu

Clarksdale, Mississippi is the hub for all things blues-related. From blues night clubs to painted murals around town, Clarksdale residents are proud of their culture and city that welcomes foreign travelers all throughout the U.S who want to fully experience American blues and rock music and history.

Travelers Steve McShane, Sheila Robb, Denise McShane, Mark Robb, Karen Brown and Garry Brown were spotted in front of Ground Zero Blues Club, owned by actor Morgan Freeman.

“We are all big fans of a wide variety of music, but blues and rock and roll are probably all of our most favored,” said Steve McShane.

These tourists were on a cross country road trip that follows the history of the blues all throughout the U.S, quite a distance from their hometown on the east coast of Scotland.

“We first heard of Clarksdale through a program called ‘Mississippi’ with Sarah McDonald on British television,” said Denise McShane, “and they mentioned the blues culture.”

Shelia Robb said they were also interested in visiting Ground Zero because Freeman owns it. However, this is their second time to visit Clarksdale.

“We came a few years ago, but now we’re staying overnight to go to Ground Zero,” said Steve McShane.

Denise McShane said it takes more than one day to experience Clarksdale and Mississippi culture. “The culture here is very rich and can be seen on every corner,” she said. “It is very interesting and fun to learn about.”

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Goran Anterse, Bello Jannessa , Micke Hugo, Janno Olsson, Pinge Kalsson  and Tridet Kenneth outside Ground Zero Blues Club.

Another group of international visitors were also at Ground Zero. Goran Anterse, Bello Jannessa, Micke Hugo, Janno Olsson, Pinge Kalsson and Tridet Kenneth came from Sweden.

“We decided to come visit Clarksdale because we are on a motorcycle bike trip across the country visiting historical American music sites,” said Micke Hugo.

Janno Olsson said coming to Clarksdale is a great way to learn about music history. “What other better place to come visit to learn about blues and rock history than where it started?” Olsson said.

The travelers said they came to visit Ground Zero because they wanted to listen to live authentic blues music, and that is something you can’t find everywhere.

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Goran Anterse, Bello Jannessa , Micke Hugo, Janno Olsson, Pinge Kalsson and Tridet Kenneth outside Ground Zero Blues Club

“We first heard of Clarksdale through a recommendation from a friend,” said Gorn Anterse. “Then we did some internet research and saw how historical this place was, so we made plans to come and visit.”

Clarksdale’s roots of blues and rock and roll run deep. “Visiting the blues places and seeing the music culture is what makes Clarksdale so special,” said Bello Jannessa, “because you can’t just find history like this anywhere else.”

Pinge Kalsson said he’s glad they journeyed to Clarksdale. “This is only one of the many stops we have on this cross country motorcycle trip,” Kalsson said, “but I am glad that it routed us to here because I really enjoy it and think it is a neat place.”

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Ground Zero Blues Club neon sign

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