Thacker News – Radio show to play historic Meridian Theater

The Thacker Mountain Radio Hour, the award-winning music and literature show based in Oxford, MS, will bring its program to Meridian, MS for that city’s Threefoot Festival, Saturday, May 15th at 6 pm. The performance will take place at the historic Temple Theater as the finale of Meridian’s two-day arts and music event. (State health protocols will be in effect).

Guests for the show will include author Michael Farris Smith who will read from and discuss his “prequel” to The Great Gatsby entitled, Nick. Musical guests will include The Lucky 7 Brass Band and rock band, Monsters At Large. The show is hosted by Jim Dees and Thacker house band, the Yalobushwhackers with their Big Band horn section.

Tickets are $20 and are available online at Eventbrite or at the Temple Theater box office. The Temple Theater is located at 2320 8th St., Meridian, MS 39301. Phone 601-693-5353 or 601-678-1162.

This show will not be broadcast live but will be recorded for air later in the spring.

“We are thrilled to have The Thacker Mountain Radio Hour as the grand finale of the festival,” said Betty Jones, president of the Meridian Council for the Arts.

“We’ve had the Threefoot Festival for 42 years and after skipping last year due to Covid we decided that this year we wanted to take it to the limit. We feel like the Thacker Mountain Radio Hour, as well as our other events, offer something for everyone,” she added.

Prior to the Thacker show, free concerts will be presented downtown on outdoor stages throughout the afternoon. Acts will include Eden Brent, Charlie Mars, the Jake Leg Stompers, Afrissippi, Libby Rae Watson and the Da Truth Brass Band.

Check the Threefoot Festival website for a full schedule of events.

When completed in 1928, the Temple Theater’s stage was second in size only to the Roxy Theater in New York. In those early years, the only entertainment available was the occasional traveling show and wrestling matches. Eventually the 1,600 seat theater struck a deal with the Saenger brothers of New Orleans to bring movies and other entertainment to the Temple Theater, an arrangement that lasted over 40 years.

As part of upgrades to the theater, a three manual, eight rank Robert Morton Theater Pipe Organ was installed to accompany the silent movies of the time. The rare organ contains 778 pipes. Two large rooms, on each side of the stage, house the pipes which are activated by air blown through a blower. The organ today is one of only two such instruments still in their original installation in Mississippi, the other being the Saenger Theater in Hattiesburg.

In 2009, new owners stepped in to purchase the Temple with a commitment to maintain the theater and the historic pipe organ as well as increase programming.

The Thacker Mountain Radio Hour shifted to in-studio programs during the pandemic. The show performed its first live show in front of audience in over a year at last month’s Juke Joint Festival in Clarksdale. Thacker host, Jim Dees, says the program, now in its 24th year, hopes to book more live shows over the summer and resume audience shows in Oxford this fall.

“We found out we could still produce the show without an audience,” he notes, “but it was a different show. That audience energy is everything. We’re really looking forward to playing Meridian and the beautiful Temple Theater. We’re looking to raise a little ruckus.”

Tickets to the radio show are also good for an after party from 8-9pm. More information at Thacker Mountain Radio Hour.