Bessie Smith Cultural Center of Chattanooga

Bessie Smith Heritage Festival

The Bessie Smith Cultural Center hosts an incredible outdoor music festival— the Bessie Smith Heritage Festival. Since the start of the festival in 2008, the festival has grown into a regional attraction as tourists flock to Chattanooga to watch musical performances on the front lawn of the Center which is surrounded by mountains and historic architecture, sample foods from the fine vendors, purchase original art from regional artists, and just take a walk down historic Martin Luther King Boulevard (formally known as the Big Nine) to hear the echoes of sounds past and present.

The Bessie Smith Heritage Festival offers something for everyone and that’s why it is the Bessie Smith Cultural Center’s goal to continue to grow this annual outdoor music and arts festival into one of the most recognizable festival throughout the country.
There’s no other way to celebrate the end of the summer than to do it Bessie Smith style! Thank you to all who attended and supported the 2012 Bessie Smith Heritage Festival. See you next year!

Photos from the 2011 Bessie Smith Heritage Festival:

2013 LINE UP – Inside the Bessie Smith Performance Hall

Saturday, August 10

Ogya (World Music Band)
Tawanna Shaunte’ (Neo-Soul)
Olamade Faison (Neo-Soul)
Kindred the Family Soul (Neo-Soul)
Stokley Willliams of Mint Condition (Neo- Soul)

Sunday, August 11

Olamade Faison (Neo Soul)
Joe Johnson (Contemporary Jazz)
Eric Essix (Contemporary Jazz)
Michael Ward (Contemporary Jazz)
Joey Sommerville (Contemporary Jazz)

2012 LINE UP – The first year we moved the festival inside and made it two days

Saturday, August 18

The Michael Foster Project (Brass Band)
DieDra Ruff and the Ruff Pro Band (Blues)
Joe Johnson (Contemporary Jazz)
Rahsaan Patteron (Neo- Soul)

Sunday, August 19

Karen Borwn(Neo-Soul/R&B)
Joe Johnson (Contemporary Jazz)
Alex Bugnon (Contemporary Jazz)
Jeff Lorber (Contemporary Jazz)

2011 LINE UP
T-Ran Gilbert (Contemporary Gospel)
Tonya Dyson (Neo-Soul)
Eric Essix (Jazz)
Avery*Sunshine (Neo-Soul)
Chrisette Michele (R&B)
Bobby Rush (Blues)

2010 LINE UP
Anthony David (Neo-Soul/R&B)
Phil Perry (R&B)
Maysa Leak (Contemporary Jazz)
Joe Johnson (Contemporary Jazz)
Bobby Blue Bland (Blues)

2009 LINE UP
Calvin Richardson (Neo-Soul/R&B)
Angela Winbush (R&B)
Algebra (Neo-Soul/R&B)
Tom Browne (Jazz)
Roy Ayers (Jazz)

2008 LINE UP
Just a Few Cats (R&B)
Ogya Band (World Beat)
Vasti Jackson (Blues)
Joe Johnson (Contemporary Jazz)
Calvin Richardson (R&B)
Ruben Studdard (R&B)

Museum Hours

Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Saturday, Noon to 4 p.m.
Sunday, Closed

Admission Information