Festival Families

The Best of the Pine Belt Awards show kicks off a summer of excitement  at 7:30 p.m. June 2 at the Saenger Theatre.

Each year, the competition has grown and this night of fun reveals the area’s top choices after months of online voting. It also is the official release of the June edition of Signature Magazine, highlighting the winners and the official program for Hattiesburg’s premiere cultural arts event, FestivalSouth.

FestivalSouth events return to Hattiesburg venues, June 9-23 with a fun-filled lineup of events, performances, and presentations. Now in its ninth season, The Hattiesburg Concert Association presents Mississippi’s only multi-week, multi-genre festival, offering both free and ticketed events that showcase the area’s rich creative economy. There is something for everyone!

On opening night, June 9, country music legend Mac McAnally returns to join the FestivalOrchestra for a live performance of its award-winning CD, “Southbound.” The Saenger will reverberate in an evening full of great music.

Families will enjoy the tale of 1001 Arabian Nights and “Scheherazade” as the FestivalSouth Orchestral Academy takes to the stage to perform. There will be a carnival of surprises in store before and during the concert that will begin at a family-friendly time, 6  p.m. June 16. Artie Events for all ages also fill the exciting summer schedule.

Cinema takes center stage at the FestivalSouth Film Expo that expands to encompass the entire second week of the festival, June 17-23. In addition to enjoying great independent films from around the globe competing for this year’s top prize, movie-goers will enjoy special screenings and presentations by Mississippi writers and their Hollywood film adaptations.

The FestivalFinale celebrates the film theme with “The Reel Big Movie Concert” that will showcase the great movie music of the silver screen in an evening full of surprises. This family-friendly event has also been moved to 6 p.m. at the Saenger Theatre so everyone can enjoy an early night on the town!

Events for the whole family including music, art, theatre, dance, food, and more are just around the corner at FestivalSouth 2018, June 9–23. For more information and updates, visit festivalsouth.org.



FestivalSouth Film Expo returns for its fourth and biggest year yet on June 17 and will run an entire week, through the evening of June 23. FSFX director Miles Doleac is proud that this year’s festival features a tribute to Mississippi’s literary legacy in cinema.

 “FSFX was conceived not only to foster the growth and evolution of film and independent filmmakers in Mississippi, but, also, as a way to pay homage to our state’s rich creative culture and legacy, so this year’s focus is very exciting indeed,” Doleac said.

In addition to the standard slate of competition features and shorts, the festival will showcase films based on works by renowned Mississippi writers such as Tennessee Williams, John Grisham, Greg Iles, and Willie Morris and will host some very special guests to discuss the works on which these films are based. “Last year’s festival celebrated the work of Mississippi native Jim Henson with screenings and commentary on The Dark Crystal and The Muppet Movie. I’m pleased to continue the tradition of honoring our state’s creative greats,” Doleac said.

Hosted by the Grand Theater in Hattiesburg, FSFX has quickly grown into one of the most lauded festivals in the state and beyond. Poplarville-based filmmaker Frank Ladner, who won the festival’s highest honor, the Golden Magnolia, in its inaugural year for his film, Max Peril, praised the festival’s commitment to filmmakers, especially Mississippi filmmakers: “We’ve been fortunate to have a film at FSFX each of the three years. Each year has been memorable. Seeing our films in a real movie theater with a large audience is something I had only previously imagined. The staff and volunteers are incredibly accommodating and they truly care about Mississippi filmmakers.”

This year’s festival will close with The Reel Big Movie Concert featuring the FestivalOrchestra on the evening of June 23.