August 2002 Issue

 October 10th, 11th & 12th

Helena , Arkansas


Welcome to the world of the King Biscuit Blues Festival. 

The lineup for this year is one of the largest that festival goers will have ever enjoyed.

 Along with a great lineup this year with 5 music stages there will be 

2002 SBBS Blues Summit, hosted by the Sonny Boy Blues Society

Robert Jr. Lockwood Tribute, hosted by Delta Cultural Center

Jimi Hendrix Experience Exposition

Children’s Music Music Interactive Area

Arts & Crafts

5k Run & Walk

and of course great food and great times.


Sonny Boy Williamson Main Stage Highlights











Luther Kent & Raful Neal

By Gary W. Miller 8/6/2002  

Luther Kent & Raful Neal – WOW! The pairing of these two outstanding musical personalities from Louisiana is a match made in heaven for Blues aficionados.  Both have long distinguished careers in the Blues.  Luther Kent is a fixture in New Orleans and the surrounding area, with his “Blow out the walls” vocals and his dynamic big, rollicking band. Two years ago, he wowed the audience right here in Helena .  He’s back, a little more subdued (maybe), with the King of the Neal family of musicians, Raful Neal.  The head of the clan, Raful has eleven children that are into music, one way or another. 

This patriarch has played in the Baton Rouge area most of his life, but has spent his time both headlining and playing alongside the best cats in the business. He is known as the “Father of the Blues” in Baton Rouge , where he often plays with his sons.  His keen and powerful harmonica playing and Soulful voice have made him a success in music.  Raful started a band with Lazy Lester, and when Lester left, Buddy Guy took over on guitar.  Guy left to go to Chicago , but Neal stayed at home, playing locally and working regular jobs. Little Walter, a major influence on his harmonica style, wanted him to come to Chicago too, but he had just married and wanted to stay that way.  By 1990, after recording various records in Blues, he finally quit the day job.  He traveled with Buddy Guy and appeared internationally.  He was voted into the Louisiana Blues Hall of Fame in 1995.  He currently tours Europe , the US , Canada , South America and Japan .

Luther Kent was born in New Orleans and, with his band Trick Bag, has become a Blues icon in that city.  It has become “de rigueur” to sit in with him if you are a big name musician visiting the city.  He is so well known, that you can’t say you’ve been there if you haven’t heard him wail.  His brand of vocalizing comes from a deep-seated love of New Orleans Blues and Jazz.  He grew up listening to it at home and started his career at age 14.  Later he recorded for Montel Records and had a hit on that label-“I Wanna Know”.  He was a front man for Blood, Sweat & Tears, as well as playing nightclubs as a single singer with various top-flight jazz groups, including Jaco Pastorius. He has played with so many artists it would take more than the three days of the Festival here to name them all.  Wanderlust for the road has kept Big Luther Kent busy recording in England with the London Symphony, as well as playing with the original Blues Brothers Band.  His newest album is The Forever Fabulous Chickenhawks – LIVE on Louisiana Red Hot Records and Luther Kent:  Down In New Orleans, on the same label.  Luther has been voted into the Louisiana Hall of Fame and the Louisiana Blues Hall of Fame.  



Sonny Landreth

By Gary W. Miller 8/6/202 

Sonny Landreth is “The King of Zlideco”. This slide guitarist extraordinaire will thrill you with his Southern Swamp brand of guitar playing, as well as some of the best lyrics in modern Blues.  Sonny has played with lots & lots of artists, bringing his special brand of guitar and arranging to much of the music being recorded today.  He has filled with artists like John Hiatt, Clifton Chenier, Leslie West and Mountain, John Mayall and Allen Toussaint.  Besides his work with other artists, he has managed to appear on at least five compilation albums. He manages to pump out some of the most surprisingly original lyrics and music this side of his home base of Lafayette , LA.  

Early influences were Robert Johnson, who Landreth admits really turned him on to his love for the Blues, as well as Skip James, Charley Patton and Mississippi John Hurt.  But it is his love for the timelessness of Southern Louisiana that inspires his lyrical moods, punctuated by careful insight into characters and themes of the region.  He admits to William Faulkner’s influence on his song writing, and it is evident that the attention to mood and character make his songs unique in the field of Blues.  

Landreth has recorded four CDs since 1992.  His newest, Levee Town , has received high accolades from every reviewer.  He is touted as one of the greatest songwriters in the genre, with all of the tunes on Levee Town either written or co written by him.  Tunes such as “ Levee Town ”, “ Deep South ” and “The U.S.S. Zydecomobile” are steeped in the mood of Southwestern Louisiana .  His Zydeco influences go back to his work with Clifton Chenier and the Red Beans and Rice Revue.  His unorthodox style of guitar playing, using both fretted and slide notes at the same time will thrill any student of the instrument.   


Sterling Billingsley

by B.Z. Wenzel

Sterling Billingsley sees his full time career in music as an expression of who he is—As he puts it he “from the time I was a small child there was something about the blues that spoke to me in a way that I can’t really explain, the blues runs deep in my veins and penetrates down in my bones.”  Sterling grew up in a house that always had music going—B.B. King, Woody Herman, Stan Kenton, and he feels that his early influences were all of the KINGS—Freddie, Albert, BB also Albert Collins, Duane Allman and Billy Gibbons.  He states that if he had to pick just one outstanding guitarist who has inspired him in his career it would have to be Albert Collins.  As Sterling puts it “no matter how bad things get, Albert can always put a smile on your face.”   And playing the blues does indeed put a smile on Sterling’s’ face 


Because he has been involved in the festival for many years he has had the opportunity to play with some of the legends of blues such as Pinetop Perkins, Honey Boy Edwards, Albert King, Greg Martin, Reba Russell, Frank Frost, and Sam Carr.  There are also some local boys like C. W. Gatlin and Skeet Seaton who deserve recognition as well. 


In the early 90’s he had the opportunity to work on a CD project with Pat Ramsey who used to blow harp with Johnny Winter in the late 70’s.  This was Sterling’s first chance to really work on a serious record along with being a major contributor.  Now Sterling was able to get his foot in the door and work on similar projects.   Currently his main focus is to get himself and the guys that play with him some quality studio time.  He feels there are some really great musicians in this area and he would like for these guys to be heard. He is also working on some original songs with his friend James (Gone for Good) Morgan.


As Sterling says-“The Blues is who I am….I live and breathe the blues.  When I strap on my guitar and hit the first note it give me a forum to speak from the deepest part of my soul.”


Robert Jr. Lockwood Heritage & Acoustic Stage Highlights

Henry Qualls

by Chuck Nevitt

  Henry Qualls, whether unearthing obscurities from Jimmy Reed or 20s Texas gospel artist Blind Willie Johnson or bearing down upon his own material, is a purist's dream-come-true, attacking his 40 year-old guitar with a demon-fire ferociousness first heard in the playing of Son House and other blues masters long gone to the other side.

The crudity and rough sound of his playing, along with the simplistic, bare-bones backing of his sidemen, add up to an authentic blues feel no middle class college graduates could ever approach.

If you're interested in the most uncompromised, pure-dee country blues Texan since Mance Lipscomb, you're interested in Henry Qualls. Accept no substitutes.

Although he takes some of his repertoire from Lil Son Jackson and Lightnin' Hopkins , and his playing clearly belongs to the Texas tradition, at the same time he's a completely individual guitarist with his own approach to music. The element of surprise, combined with the intensity of his singing and playing, made for thrilling listening.

This is, in fact, barrelhouse/juke joint blues at its roughest and most basic, interspersed with good old church meeting' music. Saturday night meets Sunday morning in Elmo , Texas ..... and now in Helena Arkansas, and not a minute too soon!


Otis Taylor

 Courtesy -

Otis Mark Taylor was born in Chicago in 1948. His family moved to Denver , Colorado in the early ‘50s, where Otis bought his first instrument, a ukulele. He later picked up the banjo and harmonica. In 1964, he formed his first band, The Butterscotch Fire Department Blues Band.

Taylor moved to London , England in 1969, where Blue Horizon Records signed him to a contract. His unique songwriting style didn't mesh well with the arranger hired for the project, so a frustrated Taylor returned to his home in Colorado . He hooked up with the now legendary guitarist, Tommy Bolin (James Gang, Billy Cobham, Deep Purple). Their project was called T&O Short Line. During the '70s, Taylor also played in the 4-Nikators and Zephyr.

For two decades, Otis did not perform in public, only jamming with friends and family. After years of being coaxed by bassist, Kenny Passarelli, Taylor finally hit the stage once again in 1995. The gig, played with Passarelli and guitarist, Eddie Turner, elicited such a positive response that Taylor decided to resume his musical career.

His first album was “Blue Eyed Monster”, followed by “When Negroes Walked The Earth”. His latest, backed by Passarelli and Turner, is the powerful “White African”. Taylor plays acoustic guitar, banjo, mandolin and harmonica. His lyrics deal with weighty issues and his music is a fresh approach to traditional Folk/ Blues.



Frank Frost Stage Highlights


Louisiana Mojo Queen   

Louisiana Mojo Queen (Ms Zeno) the stage name of Verlinda Zeno, a well known professional club, studio and Blues Singer. After performing all over the world being managed by others she branched out on her own. Being a Louisiana native, Ms Zeno has recorded four CD's over the past ten years. If you take the time to listen to her robust voice you will easily under- stand why this young lady is destined to become a legend in the blues
industry.  Ms Zeno's down -to- earth personality has won the hearts and minds of thousands of audiences and probably millions of people.  While technically an alto her range spans to gamut from contralto to soprano.  Her effort- lessly blends this vast range with real soulful feelings and warmth.  "My family says I could sing before I could talk," she says, as a start to her musical background. 

Verlinda came by her talent honestly.  Her grandfather 'Forest Zeno' was legendary in the Cane River area of Louisiana for his soulful guitar playing and vocal accompaniments.  Her mother 'Effie Lee Zeno' was also well known
for her singing and had sung with and to Verlinda when she was just a small child.  Ms Zeno's brother, 'Franklin' taught himself to play bass guitar and would get her to sing with him, she was 8 and he was 9. Franklin started his own band 'Special Touch' and had Verlinda singing lead. Little did he know this was the beginning of her singing career.  Today' Franklin' is a well known minister and master of music for a local congregation in Louisiana.

From family gatherings she went to church choirs and ultimately became a popular soloist at.  She was at length in demand at many churches as well
non-religious social functions. As her musical styling evolved and became more and more sophisticated she developed a fascination for the earthy tones, moded and rhythms of the genre known to all of us as "The  Blues".  This fascination was the result of deep emotional pulls in her life and it had brought her through numerous crisis, tragedy and struggles.

Verlinda found a home in "The Blues" and ready acceptance from the local people and communities surrounding the river.  Her sultry tones colored
and painted pictures that the young and old alike could relate to.  She brought forth from her deep inner-self strong rich expressive vocals that
would move even the most hardened listener to joy or sadness and sometimes tears as she exposed these scars deeply repressed in her soul.  For this she became known as 'The Louisiana Mojo Queen, Ms Zeno'.  It was the only way that local people could describe the bedazzling of her audiences.

Give her a Microphone and five minutes and she'll rock your world.  



Andy Forest

The first harmonica lessons came from hearing live performances by Sonny Terry, Walter Horton, Charlie Musselwhite, and Rod Piazza in the Los Angeles area as a teenager. The legendary George "Harmonica" Smith gave the young man pointers in the parking lot of the Ash Grove in Hollywood . But he really started playing in New Orleans in the early 70's, jamming with James Booker, Earl King, John Mooney, Antoine Dominoe, Billy Gregory (of Professor Longhair's band) and other local musicians who went on to form the Radiators and the Subdues. He began his professional career at age 22 demonstrating a unique and personal style from the beginning. Forest recorded the first of 14 LP's and CD's in 1979 at age 24. Living Blues gave him a "solid harp player" vote and of his songwriting reported, "...from soulful instrumentals to raunchy (lyrics).." Blues Access "a fine series of intriguing albums...original compositions, lusty singing and virtuoso harp". " harmonica" "... distinctly out of the ordinary".

  After being nominated in two categories for the William Faulkner Society Awards for a short story and a poem, Andy has written a novel "Letter From Hell" about a blues band from New Orleans that goes to Hell. With this novel, Forest was short listed for the Pirates Alley Faulkner House awards 1998. The book was first released in February 1999 in English and Italian on Pendragon and the prestigious Gallimard Editions is publishing "Letter From Hell" in French in March of 2002. Off Beat Magazine listed two of Andy's recordings among the "best" Louisiana CDs of 1999. The newest CD, "Sunday Rhumba", is produced, arranged and mixed by Grammy winning songwriter Anders Osborne. It features 11 tunes, 5 of which penned by Forest & Osborne and is already considered by many to be the most provocative, innovative and best sounding recording by Andy J to-date. It features an unusual assortment of original songs, poems, New Orleans percussive beats and a lot of harmonica.


Mark Lemhouse

Guitarist Mark Lemhouse has music in his blood –his maternal grandfather starred in his own Texas swing band, and his paternal grandmother played acoustic guitar over the Montana airwaves, circa    1940. So it should come as no surprise that Lemhouse got his first guitar when he was eleven years old – and was promptly taught the chords to “ Red River Valley ” by both grandparents.

“I bought that Silvertone at Sears with money I earned mowing lawns,” Lemhouse recalls. “It was a Les Paul reproduction. I was inspired by Bill Haley and the Comets, from the ‘Happy Days’ theme. I had no idea who Potsy was,” he quips, “but I sure did like Bill Haley’s guitar playing.”

Growing up in the Pacific Northwest , Lemhouse tuned into Led Zeppelin, who caught his ear with their blues rock style. “’Traveling Riverside Blues’ turned me on to Robert Johnson and Willie Dixon, which led me to Sonny Boy Williamson, Muddy Waters and Albert Collins. That was a jumping-off point for me,” he says. Tracing backwards, Lemhouse quickly rediscovered the greats: Son House, Charley Patton, and more.

By age 19, Lemhouse had a regular coffee shop gig – and he played with any band that would let him on stage. But electric blues became boring – “You’d play rhythm, wait for your lead, and then sit back until the next solo. But in country blues, you played both parts simultaneously.” Lightnin’ Hopkins ’ “Airplane Blues” was a revelation, converting Lemhouse to the country blues aesthetic. Mance Libscomb and Bukka White soon followed as big influence.

After a road trip south, Lemhouse decided to relocate to Memphis . He picked up work playing drums behind Mississippi hill country legend Robert Belfour, who became one of his mentors. Providing the backbeat, Lemhouse was able to observe Belfour’s complicated guitar work. “Robert taught me how to use my thumb to maintain the bass,” Lemhouse explains. “I really got to know him and learn his style.”

“Seeing Belfour play, with three fingers really pinching the chords and playing the bass line himself, that really taught me how to understand the fourteen-bar blues – making my point with those extra few bars,” Lemhouse claims.

Memphis has taught me to drop chords and add bars,” Lemhouse divulges. “And it’s broadened my musical interest – there’s so much blues in rockabilly, in Johnny Cash and Billy Lee Riley. I really admire Alvin Youngblood Hart for that – he draws in so many different influences.”

The move to Memphis was a deconstruction. Lemhouse bought a National Resonator, the loudest acoustic guitar he could find. But he refuses to subscribe to any particular doctrine – and he’s not afraid to plug in and play electric-based country blues when the occasion allows. “I’ve learned how to develop my own style – to be true to myself,” Lemhouse explains, “rather than be a blues purist. I may not play a song note-by-note, but my personal style is constantly evolving.”


Kattawar Bothers

Remember the music that set your toes tapping, put a smile on your face, and made you want to get up and move. That’s the music the Kattawar Brothers play; down-home mud bottom boogie woogie blues on piano and drums. These guys play so well that you can’t believe that much music could come from just two instruments.  

Jerry Kattawar (piano) is the entertainer. His stage antics keep the crowd electrified. His hands and feet are never still. When his feet aren’t stomping out the rhythm they are up on the keys adding a third part to his music. He exudes energy and performs with a zeal that leaves the audience breathless. Jerry interacts with his audience; they know he is performing for them, with them, and that they are the most important part of the show.  

Mike Kattawar (drums) is the foundation. He lays down that steady beat and even during the wildest stunts brother Jerry pulls he never falters. His drumming is clean and dead on. The only thing more amazing than Jerry Kattawar shinning up the stage support to stand on the roof and sing is to see Mike, drum sticks a blur, sweat pouring off him, keeping that beat no matter what else is going on.  

Their dedication to the blues and to the music of the delta makes Mike and Jerry Kattawar ideal presenters of the blues as well. They are the hosts of the Jukehouse Stage at the Mississippi Delta Blues Festival in Greenville , Mississippi . This is one of the oldest Blues Festivals and the Jukehouse stage is an intimate setting where blues legends and new talent are presented intermixed with Kattawar humor and energy.  


"Cadillac" John Nolden & Bill Abel

Cadillac John is the real thing when it comes to blues. At 75 years old, John Nolden comes to the stage with an authentic delta blues heritage that stretches back to 1927. Raised in Sunflower, Mississippi , John worked on a loca1 plantation from the time he was a kid. His main blues influence as a child was Charles Booker. He wou1d watch Charles play on the streets of Sunflower in the daytime and sneak away from home to see him play in the barrelhouses at night. Later Cadillac John formed a gospel group with his three brothers. They performed regularly on WGRM Radio "live" out of Greenwood in the late 40's and early 50's. He reca1ls how they would go on about 8:30 in the morning right before B. B. King's gospel group went on; B. B. (Riley) King was very young at this time a1so. John and B. B. cut their teeth on music much the same way, via gospel to the blues. Another influence of John's music was Sonny Boy Williamson (Rice Miller).  

John recall's seeing Sonny Boy performs with Robert Lockwood Jr. and Peck Curtis. He would a1so listen to them on the King Biscuit Radio Show, which was broadcast live from Helena , Arkansas . All of these influences have helped in forming John's own style of blues, but John says he didn't start playing real blues until a tragic event took place in his life in the early 70's. Today John plays authentic heart felt blues that is based on his own personal experiences. This is a very rare art form today even in blues music.  

The style of blues music John performs is early delta blues, which is rarely heard even in the delta. His music requires a delta blues, old school guitar accompaniment, which Bill Abel provides.  

Bill Abel at 39 years old, has learned blues first hand from blues musicians he has known throughout his life. Born and raised in the delta town of Belzoni , Bill has played with local blues musicians, most notably recording artist and W. C. Handy award nominee Paul "Wine" Jones. Paul travels extensively playing blues across the world from Europe to Japan . Paul Jones has been a major influence (on Bill's music. Quote "I met Paul Jones when I was young, while trying to learn how to play blues in Belzoni".  

Almost 20 years later Bill Abel has had the privilege of playing authentic delta blues with many blues men in many different settings from juke joints to blues festivals across the delta. Together Cadillac John and Bill Abel present an authentic Delta Blues Experience.

This is truly a rare opportunity for the blues enthusiast.


Sam Carr Stage Highlight



Becc Lester and Hank Sable have been performing together in the Memphis area for 8 years, they  have established themselves as one of the finest acoustic acts in the mid -south. With hank on guitar and vocals and Becc as featured vocalist, they offer some of the best in folk, jazz/ swing tunes, easy listening and original songs.  

Becc is a member of opera Memphis and the Memphis vocal arts ensemble, hank has recorded 2 CD's one titled "rusted" a compilation of his 25 years as a songwriter; Becc is featured on 3 of the songs on this CD. The other CD was completed December 1999 with Brenda Patterson and "Cooley’s House" one of Memphis ' most highly acclaimed rhythm and blues bands. This CD features a Memphis groove and 16 original songs of which hank is co-writer on 10.  

Becc and Hank have just completed their first CD together entitled "Blue River" has received high praise from Bill Ellis of the Commercial Appeal and Lisa Lumb of the Memphis Flyer, Nightflying and in the U.K., as well as enthusiastic response from fans in Japan, the U.K., Spain and  across the U.S.. Recent appearances by Becc and Hank at the Café' Francisco, Center for Southern Folk Lore, WKNO Radio, Channel 18 Library Channel, Huey’s Restaurant, Heritage Festival, Arts in the Park, Flying Saucer Songwriters Showcase, Blue Monkey Songwriters Showcase, Cats Records, Borders Bookstore, Peabody Place and Davis Kidd Booksellers, have established "Becc and Hank" as one of the premier acts performing in Memphis.  

Look for Becc and Hank at the Center for Southern Folklore every Monday at lunch time, also, Becc and Hank were featured at the "Windows on the World" festival in New Castle England , as well as a spot on BBC Radio, and an appearance at the beat routes festival in the U.K. this summer. Becc and Hank will be appearing at the Broadstairs Festival in August in the U.K. I hope you will take this opportunity to listen to the talent and spirit that Becc and Hank offer in their music.


  Catman and The Confounders 

The definition of confound: to confuse, amaze, or upset the norm. The Confounders is a band that specializes in doing just that. Moving seamlessly from rock, to jazz, to blues, and even mixing the styles all together, the Cofounders form a style that is original in a very big sound. Expect the unexpected. Much of the music are originals featured on the last CD release (Signs of Life), and many new tunes slated for recording in late summer/early fall, of this year.  

The founder of the band, Patrick "Catman" Webb, owns and operates a non-profit affiliate animal sanctuary called Top of the Rock Animal Sanctuary. Top of the Rock specializes in the rescue of big cats that people mistakenly acquire as "pets", and gives them a life long home with plentiful

food, fresh water, and spacious enclosures. A huge 10,000 sq. foot playground was completed this year to enable the big cats to run, play, and even climb in a large stock tank (swimming pool) to cool off.  The sanctuary also rescues injured and orphaned native wildlife, for release back into the wild. You may view pictures at . Be watching for the upcoming  National Geographic television special, partially filmed at Top of the Rock last year.  

Catman plays guitar, is the lead singer, and writes many of the original tunes. Crowd favorites include Can't Take It No Mo', Been Down (That Road), and Goin' Out Tonight. Catman has a huge voice and an unusual finger picking style on rhythm and leads.  

Larry Huie plays fiery and expressive guitar, and sings songs ranging from Jimi Hendrix, to Johnny Winter, to Johnny Cash. Larry plays leads that swing effortlessly from blues to rock to down home Arkansas country.  

Tim Small maintains a steady walking bottom on the bass, and is a long time bassist for several previous versions of The Confounders, including the first and original version. He has also put much labor into the animal sanctuary.

Mike Builderback is an excellent drummer and moves effortlessly from rock, to swing, to jazz, to blues shuffles. He is a dynamic drummer who can really "move a groove". He has also been known to bust out in some very good vocal work.  

Confounders tunes range from unusual arrangements of the blues masters, to rock, to jazzy energetic eclectic/electric, and of course, original material. Versatility insures the crowds of many surprises. It's downright confounding. Catman's stage antics also adds a few surprises too.  

Besides providing some excellent and exciting entertainment, The Confounders assist in supplementing Top of the Rock with some much needed financial support.  


Gospel Stage Highlights 

next issue


 Letter from the Director

April of 2002 a milestone was reached by the Sonny Boy Blues Society.  We opened The Sonny Boy Museum and Museum Store which pipes music from the store out into the street.  Currently we are playing artist CD’s from the lineup at the 2002 Festival. As I stepped outside to get inspiration for this article I began to visualize what it will be like when the artist are actually here and playing on their receptive stages.  I began to see the visitors enjoying the music, the food, the ambiance, each other. Then back to reality with the music in the background I watch the local people going about their daily business here in Helena.  Some walked to the beat; another simply lifted his head in appreciation and enjoyment.  The music is a great backdrop for it blends with the levee and the historic buildings.  Blues here on Cherry Street right where it belongs!

 The hum has started in Helena .  Sponsor pictures are being placed in The Daily World, chairman meetings are being conducted, volunteers are being contacted yes and even as I walk down Cherry street I am constantly being stopped and asked by the locals “How’s the festival going? Things moving on along?”  Calls are increasing asking all the “right” questions…”tell me about the line-up…what about hotel rooms, camping, dates.”  They let me know that they are excited about the festival, excited about coming.  What wonderful experiences are waiting to occur!

In my office hangs a dry erase board used to count down the days to the festival.  Today there are 54 days, tomorrow, 53.  By the time you guys are reading this it will be 52. 51, Very Cool!

 For those of you who are hedging about coming to the festival this year—please-make the decision to come.  For those of you who have said that you always wanted to come to the King Biscuit Blues Festival make this the year you experience it first hand.  There is so much great talent coming how can I possibly single it all out.  Great People, Great Food, Great Fun, Can’t wait.  Many of our great Blues legends have passed on.  Don’t wait another minute to make the decision to come on down to the river, the levee, the music.  Bring your lawn chairs, blankets, sun block and find a spot on the levee to dance to the Blues, sing to the Blues, just enjoy the Blues.  As my friend John Weston says, “Blue is the only color that you feel.”

Liz Harrison

Festival Highlights  

Barbequing the Blues away…

by Billy Ray  

Professional or plain ole backyard barbeque expert, the Biscuit is the place for you.  That’s right.  It doesn’t matter because the King Biscuit Blues Festival has two different divisions for Backyard and Professional Barbequers.  Come and not only soak up the sights and sounds of the annual festival but also add to it by allowing your own barbeque smell to linger in the air.  Have fun with it; get a team together of your closest friends and next-door neighbors and make plans now for the Backyard Barbeque Competition and for those professionals, we have the usual competition for you as well.   

For the professionals, the competition consists of three categories, which include shoulders, ribs, and whole hog.  Entry fee is $75 for each category in which you wish to compete.  The entry fee for the Backyard Division is $50 for a single category and $75 for both (ribs and shoulders).  The Grand Champion prize includes entry fee into the Memphis in May Championship Barbeque competition for May 2003, $500 in cash, and a trophy.  There are also first, second, and third place prizes for each division.   

Make plans now to add your flavor, literally, to the largest free blues party in the south.  For more information, contact Jay Hollowell, Barbeque Chairman, at 870-338-6451 or by email at  Remember, you can always visit the festival’s website at

Got the blues?  Run or walk it off….

by Billy Ray

“On your mark, get set, GO!”  For those of you who enjoy hearing those words; either by participating or simply watching and cheering your family and friends on, this is the event for you.  Get a jump on Saturday’s events of the festival, by lacing up your running/walking shoes and meeting with other enthusiasts on the grounds of the legendary King Biscuit Blues Festival’s main stage grounds for a 5k run or a brisk 2 mile walk thru historic downtown Helena and along the levee overlooking the, mighty and majestic, Mississippi River.  This event is named after Kenneth Freemeyer, long time supporter and Chairman of the 5k Run/2 Mile Walk event.  A set portion of the proceeds are marked to be given to the Relay for Life, cancer research fundraiser that Kenneth was also heavily involved, in his memory.  The 17th Annual King Biscuit Blues Festival’s Kenneth Freemeyer Memorial 5kRun and 2 Mile Walk is sure to get your heart to pumping and your feet to stepping to the blues as you join the sponsor, Mountain Valley Water, in this worthwhile event.  You may pre-register by contacting the festival office at 870-338-8798 and they will be more than happy to send you all the necessary materials.  Also, for pre-registering, the cost is only $15, which includes a shirt.   

For complete details, visit the festival website at


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