The Last FALL BALL?
On Sunday, November 12 the Strand Theatre in downtown Vicksburg will host a concert being billed as The Last? FALL BALL. It will showcase performances by Lee. H Abraham and the Boone Brothers, Bruce Lundgren, Bob Ingram, Danny Scallions, Mike George, Julie Harrison and featuring special guest Patrick Smith on keyboard and vocals. There will also be video clips from the FALL BALLs of the past.
But what is the FALL BALL?
In October of 1980 Vicksburg guitarist, Kenny Boone, wanted to celebrate his birthday doing what he loved best: playing music. He asked some friends to join him and the result was the first FALL BALL. Five bands from Vicksburg and central Mississippi assembled on a Sunday afternoon in a field in north Warren County. According to Boone, “We built a stage out of a trailer and some whatnot and threw together a sound system. There was no internet, so we just went to the Biscuit Company and told everyone it was happening and handed out Xeroxed maps. They came. Hundreds of them. It was fun. We didn’t charge anything to get in. My brother, Daniel silkscreened T-Shirts to commemorate the day.”
The next year they did it again. Bands from here and Jackson had heard about it and wanted to play. Too many. “There’s a FALL BALL magic – when I ask people to play at the FALL BALL, then or now, they’re ready. We had to say no to some, but we always had a variety: rock, country, western swing, retro. Still free.”
There were editions in 1982 and 1983 by which time it was becoming overwhelming, so, “for the next few years we helped organize the Vicksburg Music and Heritage Festival in town in cooperation with the City instead of the FALL BALL. Then we grew up and got over it.”
“We videotaped the FALL BALLs in 81, 82, and 83, and each year we’d get together at the Biscuit Company a week or so afterward and watch it all on TV. They weren’t big screens back then, either,” said drummer Daniel Boone, Kenny’s brother.
“Those tapes have been sitting on the shelf, and every now and then I think I can hear the music, and remember the FALL BALLs and how much fun they were. Every now and then one of the musicians who played will pass away, and their friends and family will ask for a dub of their FALL BALL performance to play at the funeral home.”
In 2013, 30 years after the last Fall Ball the brothers organized a two-day event as a reunion. Daniel explained, “We had a Sunday afternoon of live music featuring many of the surviving musicians, preceded by a night at the Strand Theatre watching clips from the 16 hours of videos. It was so great to see not only those bands, but the audience members dancing and having a good time. Living again.”
“Now ten more years have passed. More friends and participants have left the planet. It’s time to gather and remember. While we can. Kenny is organizing the music and I am working on the films and of course, a new T-Shirt. It’s like old times. Kenny decided to call it the Last FALL BALL. I added the question mark.”
According to Kenny, “We’re excited about the lineup we’ll have at the Strand. There will be veteran musicians from past FALL BALLs, but it’s not all about the past. This is a show with a lot of talented local folks.”
For more information and to see film clips and photos from the past FALL BALLs see facebook.com/fallballreunion
Tickets are $25 and available at Highway 61 Coffeehouse in advance.See a typo? Report it here.