The weather might be hot, but the entertainment planned for this year’s Bessie Smith Heritage Festival promises to be even hotter. Now in its 5th year, the music festival has been expanded to a two-day celebration of culture, music, and visual arts. The following activities and musical performances are planned on Saturday, August 18 at the Bessie Smith Cultural Center. Additional activities are scheduled for Sunday, August 19th.

Aug. 18th, 10 am – 4 pm: Bessie’s Arts on “9th Street”
Families are invited to stroll on the grounds of the Bessie Smith Cultural Center to view art created by a variety of regionally acclaimed artists. Artists along with merchandisers will offer unique merchandise for sale. The event will include flavorful food, live musical performances by Chattanooga’s blues band, Rick Rushing and the Blues Strangers. The Bessie’s Arts on “9th Street” event is free and open to the public.

Aug. 18th, 7 pm – midnight: Bessie Smith Heritage Festival’s Neo Soul Night
The Neo-Soul Night will feature performances by New Orleans brass and soul band, The Michael Foster Project, Blues recording artist, Dedra Ruff & the Ruff Pro Band, jazz recording artist & Musical Director, Joe Johnson and New York’s Neo-Soul and jazz recording artist, Rahsaan Patterson.

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The daily general admission to the two-day music festival is $25 for an advance ticket and $35 at the door. Reserved tables are also available. Tickets may be purchased online at or at the Bessie Smith Cultural Center between the hours of 10 am – 5 pm (EST) Monday through Friday or on Saturday from noon to 4:00 p.m.

For more information about the festival or to inquire about sponsorship opportunities, call (423) 266-8658 or email