“Porretta belongs on every serious blues and soul festival-goer's bucket list, a confluence of positive forces to be honored and treasured.”
Dick Shurman, Paul Harris Living Blues 2017

ART DIRECTOR Graziano Uliani


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Porretta Soul Festival Hall of Fame

Rufus Thomas

The very essence of Memphis music. From Vaudeville to Rhythm & Blues and Funky. A journey that began at the Studios, across the golden years of the Soul music at the Stax, before landing in Porretta where he performed 6 times. After Rufus Thomas’ first show in 1988, the Rufus Thomas Park has hosted the bigs of Soul music.

The Memphis Horns

Wayne Jackson (trumpet) and Andrew Love (sax) represent the most important and most acclaimed horn section in the history of Soul and beyond. Their sound has embellished Otis Redding’s tracks, and has been Franklin, Sam & Dave, Rufus Thomas, Johnnie Taylor, Elvis Presley, Sting, U2, Doobie Brothers, Alicia Keys and many more. They are inextricably bound to Porretta.

Booker T. & The MGs

Stax’ rhythm section: together with the Horns, they made the Memphis Sound famous worldwide. At the end of the 70s, these extraordinary musicians have created the backbone of the Blues Brothers Band.

Isaac Hayes

In 1971, he has been the first Afro American to be awarded the Oscar for the soundtrack of Shaft. His signature also marks Soul classics like “Soul Men”, “Hold On I’m Coming” and dozens more.

Solomon Burke

The Porretta Soul Festival was born from a chance meeting of Graziano Uliani with this giant of Soul music. Powerful voice, charism, and a touch for the show. He has been an idol to whole generations, his influence ranges from Rolling Stones to Blues Brothers. He performed 5 times in Porretta, and the town has named a bridge in his honour.

Millie Jackson

Sweeping, fierce, capable of red-light lyrics at times, she knows well how to set the stage on fire without any compromise between church and cathouse. Her performances in Porretta are unforgettable, especially the one in 1993 shown in the linked video.

Eddie Hinton

Extraordinary songwriter and session man, active at Muscle Shoals, he became object of worship for those who love Southern Rock and Southern Soul. A blue-eyed Soul singer, almost like a white Otis Redding. His exceptional featuring at the Porretta Soul Festival in 1991 remains one of festival’s highlights.

Dan Penn

He secured a place in the Olympus of Soul music songwriters thanks to songs like “Do Right Man, Do Right Woman” for Aretha Franklin, and “At The Dark End Of The Street” for James Carr. However, Dan Penn’s creations number hundreds, arisen to classics thanks to the recordings of Solomon Burke, Percy Sledge and the Box Tops. He wrote and recorded “Peace In Porretta” during his stay in Porretta in 1994.

James Carr

He’s been described as “one of the greatest pure vocalists that deep Southern soul ever produced.” His recordings for the label of Memphis Goldwax are diamonds that raise James Carr at the top level among all the competitors of his time, like Otis Redding and Solomon Burke.

LaVern Baker

From the mid 50s she had been the cutting edge of the Atlantic Records, with a continued presence in the hit parade. She came in Porretta in 1996, supported by the Rhythm & Blues Foundation which wanted to express their gratitude providing her a featuring in the only European festival entirely devoted to Soul music. Although she performed in a wheelchair because of the legs’ amputation, her performance was unforgettable. She passed away less than a year later.

Rufus back to Porretta