HELENA, AR: King Biscuit Blues Forum — NEW EVENT!!


The world-famous King Biscuit Blues Festival celebrates its 26th year with the addition of an epic new event on Saturday, October 8, 2011, at the historic Malco Theater in Helena, Arkansas.

According to award-winning blues journalist and BluesWax editor in chief  Don Wilcock, “Call and Response: The King Biscuit Blues Forum” promises to build on the near mythic reputation of this fabled blues festival with an entourage of performers, journalists and presenters from across the blues spectrum in conversation between themselves and with their audience.

“We’re not putting on a blues symposium of experts interviewing experts,” explained Wilcock, also an event organizer and moderator. “We’re putting on a conversational blues festival, really, where legendary blues performers do most of the talking.”

The line-up is a who’s who of past, present and future blues stars — ranging in age from 18 to 91 years old. Artists scheduled to participate include today’s leading practitioners of the storied Delta blues tradition Cedric Burnside, James “T-Model” Ford, Lonnie Shields, and “Blind Mississippi” Morris. Joining them will be several of today’s leading festival headliners Tommy Castro, Moreland & Arbuckle, Billy Branch and Ryan Perry of Homemade Jamz. Representing two of the leading magazines reporting on blues will be Marc Smirnoff, managing editor of The Oxford American, and Art Tipaldi, editor in chief of Blues Revue magazine. Blues Music Award and Living Blues Award winner Jeff Konkel of Broke & Hungry Records will also take part. 

Keeping the Blues Alive award winners and moderators Wilcock and Roger Stolle of Cat Head Delta Blues & Folk Art in Clarksdale will keep the festivities rolling.

“We have two symposium discussions scheduled for Saturday, October 8th,” said Stolle, co-organizer of the event. “Don Wilcock will moderate ‘Milestones in the Blues’ while I present the ‘State of Blues in the Delta’ segment.”

The first session at 12:30 p.m. that day will center on this year’s important blues milestones — including Robert Johnson’s 100th birthday, Living Blues’ 40th anniversary, Blues Revue’s 25th anniversary and several others. 

The second session at 1:30 p.m. will cover the current state and imminent future of the Mississippi and Arkansas Delta’s rich blues heritage — from the surviving juke joint culture to the evolution of the region’s blues styles. Both sessions are free, but seating is limited to a first-come basis.

Call and Response: The King Biscuit Blues Forum is made possible by Oxford American Magazine and Roller-Citizens Funeral Home.

According to King Biscuit Blues Festival executive director Munnie Jordan, the new symposium promises an unprecedented look at the history and personalities behind the blues.

“We don’t do something at King Biscuit unless it’s going to be well done,” stressed Jordan. “This event is every bit as fascinating and essential as our nightly headliners. Blues fans owe it to themselves to check this out. The truth is: If blues could talk, it would sound a lot like this.”

“For more than a quarter century, The King Biscuit Blues Festival has chronicled the rich tapestry of Delta blues,” says Heidi Knochenhauer, the festival’s liaison for community affairs and special events. “Call and Response: The King Biscuit Blues Forum adds a new dimension to that legacy with historical context.”

The King Biscuit Blues Festival takes place October 6th through 8th in historic Helena, Arkansas. Call and Response: The King Biscuit Blues Forum at 12:30 p.m. on Saturday will follow a related event earlier in the day at Helena’s Delta Cultural Center entitled “100 Years of Blues” (10:30 a.m. to 12 noon at the Miller Hotel — www.deltaculturalcenter.com).

For more information on Call and Response, The King Biscuit Blues Forum, contact Don Wilcock at donwilcock@msn.com or Roger Stolle at roger@cathead.biz. For more information on the festival, please go to www.kingbiscuitfestival.com.

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