WHAT TO EXPECT
We wanted to share details about some of the most asked questions for new attendees, and a review for returning attendees.
Health & Safety - We have some real treasures to protect, including our living blues legends that will be with us at the Masterclass as well as all of you attending with us. Unfortunately, COVID-19 is still out there and we are coming from all around the country. We understand that you may or may not have had the vaccine and/or boosters. We are asking that anyone coming to the Masterclass, either Attendee or parent/guest, please SELF-TEST for COVID-19 using a home antigen test prior to traveling to Clarksdale. DO NOT ATTEND if you are sick or test positive for the virus. We do not want to bring this to the Masterclass and understand we could be asymptomatic. We ask that you please test at home prior to your travels. If the unfortunate occurrence of not being able to attend this year comes up due to sickness, we will gladly roll-over your registration and any scholarship funds offered to next year. You can obtain home tests by visiting https://www.covid.gov/tests but the timeline for receiving these tests may be delayed, so please visit a store near you right away to get tests on hand for all who will be coming to the Masterclass grounds. We will not be asking you for your results, but thank you in advance for your cooperation with this request.
Instruments - We will go over the details for what each instrument track should plan to bring. Let us know if you have concerns about what gear you have available to bring in the Attendance Details form or by email reply.
- Piano - If you indicated that you will need to borrow a piano for the class, we will provide one for you. These will be set up in the Bill's House living room. If you are driving and can bring your own keyboard, that is of great help to us. We will provide keyboards for the jams and performance, so you will not need to move your keyboards each day.
- Electric Guitar - Please plan to bring a guitar of your choice and small practice amp for it (or have someone who's driving bring these for you). We will be in a room of many guitar players, so large stage sized amps will not be conducive and will be difficult to setup and carry. If you do not have a small practice sized amp, please let us know ASAP so we can work to secure an amp for your use. Most students bring electric guitars, but if you only have an acoustic guitar without a pick-up, we can work with that. Guitar class will be in Hopson's Commissary, so you will need to be able to move the guitar and amp back and forth to your shacks after class is done for the day.
- Acoustic Guitar - This new instrument track will be a very FOCUSED instruction on acoustic blues. This is not a track to select if you really wanted to be in the Electric Guitar class, but it filled up. This needs to be an advanced, dedicated student of the blues, with the wish to understand and practice a finger-picking, Delta/East Texas style of acoustic guitar. It is not required to have a pick-up in your acoustic guitar, but it would help on performance nights to be able to hear you better. If you don't have a pick-up in your acoustic guitar, we will mic it for performances. You must be an ADVANCED player to be in this class.
- Harp - Our harmonica instructors expect that you have some experience playing harmonica before coming to this masterclass. That means you have experience playing and own a variety of different keyed harmonicas that you will bring. We do not expect you to have or bring a small harp amp and harp microphone, but if you are driving in and can do so, there may be an opportunity to use it. We will be having Harp classes in the Rich House.
- Drums - We will provide a full drum kit for use during the classes in Hopson's Loft. You will need to bring your own sticks at minimum. It is recommended, if you can, to please bring a practice pad and/or a snare of your own. This will allow you to practice the patterns being taught on something when you are not taking turns on the full kit.
- Bass - Please plan to bring a bass guitar of your choice and small practice amp for it (or have someone who's driving bring these for you). We will be in the Juke Joint Chapel in the Shack Up Lobby with many bass players, so large stage sized amp rigs will not be conducive and will be difficult to set up and carry. We will also be rotating between our three great bass instructors, so a portable amp is critical. If you do not have a small practice sized bass amp, please let us know ASAP so we can work to secure an amp for your use.
Classes - We have a morning session that begins at 10am. Please have your instrument/amp/etc set up in your venue BY 10am. That way, instructors can begin sessions on time and don't have to wait for you to get set up. Lunch is at 12:30pm for 1 hour in the Hopson's Commissary. Afternoon classes begin at 1:30pm. Please get to your venue by 1:30pm so they aren't waiting for you to begin after lunch.
Vocal Instructor Sessions - We will have a Vocal Instructor on site. You can sign-up for a vocal session, so please honor the time you signed up for. You will need to leave from your venue in enough time to walk over to the Vocal session Grain Bin on time. Wait on the porch for the instructor to invite you in. We are hoping to incorporate a full group session with our wonderful instructor, but the details are TBD at this time.
Jams - Nightly jams on Tues. Weds. and Thurs. nights. These begin after dinnertime, so be aware of your time in the evenings. The Interns will be organizing the nightly jams, so we encourage all attendees to sign up. If you haven't been to a blues jam before, we can help you through it, but you will sign up with your name, instrument and whether you sing or not. You do not have to jam on the instrument you are taking in the workshops, but we encourage you to do that at least once before the final performance. We do our very best to get through all those that sign up, but there are times where we don't get through it all. We will do our best to consider that in the next night's jam. With that in mind, be considerate of others in your choices. It's best not to choose to do a 23-minute rendition of Mountain Jam as your jam song.
Field Trip - Our field trip each year can rotate. We have been to the Delta Blues Museum in town on the Weds. after class sessions end at 4pm. Entrance fees for Attendees will be provided, but any guests will need to pay $10 for entry. We typically carpool into Clarksdale, so be sure to arrange who you will be riding with if you don't have a car. Other field trips have included a walking tour of Clarksdale with significant Blues sites on the Blues Trail (when weather cooperates), Gravesite tours to honor the blues legends of the past, etc. The field trip will be determined closer to the event.
Final Performance - Our end of week Final Performance will be at the Ground Zero Blues Club in Clarksdale at 7pm. Entrance for Attendees will be provided, but any guests or community members will pay a cover charge. We recommend getting to the venue early to get a seat as the community very much looks forward to this event and the place will be packed. Ground Zero does have a food menu https://www.groundzerobluesclub.com/menu so you can get some dinner there as you wait before the Showcase begins. We recommend asking about food when you arrive, as the kitchen may have limited hours. Don't wait to order and find that the kitchen has closed.
Breakfasts & Snacks - You will be responsible for providing your own breakfast each day. Heading to the store in town to get supplies for your shack for breakfasts is common. We will provide snacks for Attendees throughout the workshop sessions. There will be granola bars and fruit for snacking, but again, feel free to bring your own snacks. Bluesberry Cafe is partnering with us on some of our lunches, so on the morning you are checking out of the Shacks, you can head into town and support their business for breakfast!
Lunch during workshop - We will be providing lunches for attendees each day and parent(s)/guest(s) can purchase lunch for $10 per day. We will send an Attendance Details form link that has a place for you to let us know of your interest in ordering guest lunches. We have served Mexican Fajita lunch including Chicken, Beef & Veggie selections with tortillas and salad; an Italian Pasta lunch including Alfredo sauce with chicken or just vegetarian options, salad and garlic bread; sub sandwiches including Meatball, Turkey or Veggie options, salad & chips. Lunches will be determined when we get closer to the event. There is only an hour for lunch. You can eat on your own, but must be back in time for afternoon classes.
Dinners after workshop - We will begin with a provided BBQ at the Meet & Greet Tues. night. This is for everyone. Vegetarian options available. Weds. night dinner is on your own, as we will likely be in Clarksdale for the Field Trip. There are many fast food options and a couple sit-down places in Clarksdale. Thurs. night our Board member Mike Black offers a free southern dinner at Hopson's. Please join us, as this is available to all. Again vegetarian options are available. Fri. night you will need to get dinner on your own, but be sure to be at the Ground Zero Blues Club by 6pm for check-in or you can choose to eat there while you wait.
Lodging - If you secured a shack at the Shack Up Inn, we wanted to let you know what to expect for your stay. To be frank, the shacks can be rough. It is not the Ritz. It is truly an experience. You will get used to hearing the hum of window air-conditioners and the slam of porch screen doors. Every shack is different, but you should have some sort of refrigerator in your shack if you want to bring or get supplies/snacks specific to your preferences. If you are flying in, there are stores in town where you can purchase any items for your conveniences. The Shack Up will often have some pastries out in the morning in the lobby, but it's not always a guarantee. We would highly recommend contacting the Shack Up Inn to secure lodging on site. We'd love to have you staying on site with us, but if it is full, other lodging recommendations are listed here.
Attire for workshop & performance - It can and likely will be very hot in Clarksdale in mid-June. We will be inside for almost all of our sessions besides walking between buildings. They have air conditioning on at all times, so if you chill easily, bring layers. The classes and nightly jams have no requirements for attire. We just expect our attendees to be respectful of others in their choices. We do often see our Attendees dressing up for the final performances. Don't feel required to wear a suit, but we've seen it happen! Just be comfortable in what you wear and feel free to bring it up a notch to show off your best self!
Parent Sessions - We will be holding parent sessions on both Weds. & Thurs. during the afternoon class sessions. Please try to join us for the first and/or both sessions. Part of the experience is getting to know the other families of the Pinetop Perkins Masterclass group. We are all in different phases of having musical kids, so we want to share our successes and challenges to help each other! We plan to 'get-to-know-you' on the Weds. session, so we know where everyone is at in the process. Then on the second session on Thurs. we plan to dive deeper into some of the topics including legal matters and next steps in the process. Whether you are new to the scene or experienced 'managers', you can help one another, so please join us. These sessions will be moderated by Mike Black and Jill Kuch, Board Members and parents of PPM Multi-year Alumni, with materials from Clint Morgan, Board Member and Entertainment Attorney. You will get a copy of the document, Big Legal Mess that has contracts and other advice for navigating the music industry. There is a PDF version linked below, but at camp you can get a Docx version so you can use and edit the contracts within it.
Around Clarksdale - There is a Walmart where you can pick up any supplies needed for your shack or your own dietary preferences, if you choose to eat on your own. There are great stores and shops to explore in Downtown Clarksdale including the CatHead store..."The Crossroads" sign... Red's Blues Club is a true juke joint... You will also see some tough economic areas. Being in Clarksdale is a true experience of the south. If you have questions about any of this regarding being in and around Clarksdale, feel free to reach out.
In Closing - We hope this answered your many questions and put your mind at ease with what to expect when you come to Clarksdale. We are so excited to be together for the Masterclass! Please let us know if you have additional questions. See you soon!
Pinetop Perkins Foundation Board Member & Workshop Coordinator
pinetopperkinsmasterclass@gmail . com