The air is filled with a steady anticipation as the long awaited 2022 Double Decker Arts Festival approaches. Streets will be flooded for miles with giddy festival goers, vendors, students and art enthusiasts as the Square is brought to life with artistry.
Double Decker Festival has been a monumental occasion for the Oxford community since its establishment in 1994. The entire weekend is artistry heaven for music lovers and art enthusiasts alike. From the smooth tones of jazz to the distinct twang of country, music constitutes a large part of the festival.
Maggie Rose, an independent artist based in Nashville, will step out onto the mainstage this Saturday at 2 p.m. before later performing at Proud Larry’s.
This Americana artist is no stranger to Oxford. Rose has performed at Proud Larry’s twice, guest starred on Thacker Mountain Radio at both Square Books and The Lyric, sang at Rowan Oak and was originally scheduled to perform at Double Decker in 2020 before it was canceled due to COVID-19.
Rose moved to Nashville as a teenager to pursue her love of music and was thrown into a major label country-music machine. However, the label Rose was signed to folded and she found herself struggling with connecting to the music, scared that everything was going to go away.
She struggled to find herself as a musician but soon found inspiration in life as an independent artist in a different genre of music.
Americana or American Rock and Soul — a genre of music defined by its quirky blend of folk, blues, gospel, country and more — is where Rose found herself after the trials she faced in the music industry.
“It was a great opportunity for me to set the records straight and go in a direction that was most natural for me, which was being a more soulful singer and not apologizing anymore,” Rose said.
Everything from Rose’s music to her stage performances reflect the eclectic aesthetic American Rock and Soul is so well known for. Her music draws strong inspiration from the blues of the Mississippi Delta as well as powerful singers such as Aretha Franklin, Nina Simone and Susan Tedeschi.
“We are pretty funky, we transcend a lot of genres,” Rose said. “There is rock and soul and a little folk element in there. A little bit of country.”
Outside of her life as a musician, Rose hosts a podcast on Apple Podcasts called “Salute the Songbird” where she interviews women in the industry like Allison Russell, Natalie Hemby and more.
The young artist draws strong inspiration from the podcast, stating that she feels it has made her a better musician and a better listener.
Rose will be performing many songs from her latest album “Have a Seat” when she takes the stage this Saturday.
“I have a stellar band. We will be playing a lot of material from my latest album. We are going to do a few covers as well,” Rose said.
The 11-song album is meant to preach inclusivity and acceptance, highlighting the importance of finding your individual self and taking a seat at the table only you can occupy.
“It feels like an extension of individuality and a way to connect with people that is unlike anything else,” Rose said. “I have been setting this table for years and years with all of the experiences that I have been through, and this was me finally claiming a seat at this proverbial table.”
Festival goers can expect a very entertaining performance from Rose as she lights up the Square.
“It is a very dynamic show. I hope people will really dance a lot,” Rose said. “We want to connect with people. I hope to make people feel more connected to each other in the audience as well after the show is over.”
Her show — billed as “Super Jam” — at Proud Larry’s is a post-festival late night that will include a few special guests, including Happy Landing and Tate Moore of the Kudzu Kings.
As Double Decker approaches, Rose is ecstatic about immersing herself in the Oxford community and sharing her music once again.
“I am just so happy that it is happening,” Rose said. “It is the return of a really wonderful tradition and I feel honored to be on the bill. We have had a Double Decker poster hanging in our house for as long as I have known my husband and it has always kind of been an aspirational thing to say that I have played it. I am very excited to finally realize that moment.”
Other performers include Trombone Shorty and Orleans Avenue, The Wilkins Sisters, 49 Winchester, Happy Landing, Buffalo Nichols, The Revivalists, Samantha Fish, and Mavis Staples.
All performances will take place on the main stage at North Lamar.