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King Biscuit Festival
New Orleans
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Here's the info from Lou250:

The King Biscuit Blues Festival will be held the first weekend of October (Oct.4,5, 6) in Helena , Arkansas, less than an hour`s drive from Memphis. After attending last years fest, I very much feel that "The Biscuit" would be an ideal place to have the gathering. Number one on my list is the AFFORDABILITY of the festival. Money is of no object to some, but to many, it is a concern. The festival itself is free. My recommendation for lodging would be The Riverview Casino Hotel, which is located on the Helena side of the Mississipi River, and is owned by The Isle of Capri Casino, which is just over the river on The MS side. Rooms at the Riverview start at $39.95 !!!!!!!! How`s that for affordability? This includes a shuttle service to and from the fest, with, of course, full handicapped access. For those so inclined, they also have a shuttle to the Casino over the bridge. Other hotels in the area are also reasonably priced. I stayed at The Econolodge in Clarksdale for $49.95 a night last year . The food at the festival is awesome and VERY reasonably priced. You get the best of the south cheap. A Catfish dinner with TWO whole catfish, potatoes and slaw is under $8. A BBQ Rib dinner with cole slaw and beans and cornbread is $5.00 ! A hearty bowl of Red beans and rice is $2.00 ! Now , THE MUSIC ! There are 3 stages going the whole 3 days of the Fest, beginning at 4 pm Thursday , and ending Saturday night at midnight. It is considered by many to be the best Blues Festival in the country, and is certainly the best in The South. This years artist list is not up yet, but you can see last years list at my homepage "Delta Pilgrimage" There is one stage called The Acoustic Stage , where you can see the likes of Louisiana Red, Fruteland Jackson, and many , many more. The Acoustic Stage doubles as The "Houston Stackhouse Stage " at night. The main Stage hosts the major acts, which last year included Robert Lockwood, Billy Branch, Roy Gaines , James Cotton, Anson Funderburgh and The Rockets with Sam Myers, Little Milton, Bob Margolin, Pinetop Perkins, and many more. There is also a gospel stage that is held in an old movie theater, and an "alternative" stage featuring soul , rock , and folk music. You will definitely get your fill of music at The Biscuit, and all for FREE ! This is all compacted onto a small area behind and on Cherry St. Helena`s main street, right "downtown". On the subject of handicap access, The Biscuit fully caters to its handicapped patrons with parking at the performers parking area right next to the main stage. There is a "Riverwalk " side walk running along the levy leading to all stages and there are TWO "handicapped only" restrooms. There is a raised deck, right next to the sound board of the main stage that I think are the best seats in the house, for handicapped. For those driving in, parking is a breeze. We parked on a side street only a few blocks from the main stage. residents are allowed to charge for parking , but our neighbor was out there all day watching the cars. A bargain for $10.00 !! For those flying into Memphis, I recommend pooling to rent a passenger van to shuttle back and forth. Cstring and Basslady have volunteered to help with that, and I will too. I`m sure others will be willing to help. Of course , you can always rent a car for the weekend if you choose. The Festival is held in the heart of The Delta, right smack in the middle of where it all began. Clarksdale , MS is right accross the river, and there is so much history in the area it`s baffling. There is a small museum right on Cherry Street, and Clarksdale boasts The Delta Blues Museum , which is a WONDERFUL place to visit !!!!! I have a new friend I met through Jerri , Robert Birdsong that is a local historian responsible for finding several key historical sites and relatives of Blues Legends (He found Charley Pattons sister !) He is a great guy and thoroughly knowledgable about the area`s rich history. He give Blues Tours for a nominal fee, all of which goes to the delta Blues Museum`s educational fund to buy musical instruments for underprivilaged kids in their music program. I highly recomend this tour. Robert has also agreed to help us to find a real Delta Juke Joint to hold jam sessions , and has 2 willing to host us. These Juke Joints are working -class bars , and are not fancy, but they are inexpensive, and the folks are the friendliest in the world.

I recommended that this Juke Joint Jam" be held Wed. or Thurs. and Sunday because of all the activities going on during the festival. We could , of course use a central room for Jams during the weekend, but I thought it would be a blast to hold a jam in an authentic Juke Joint. In closing, and with respect to the roomies researching the other sites, I truly feel that this is THE place for a Blues gathering. I realize it is 2 weeks after the set date, but that , in my opinion , is a very small factor, and after reading this report, I hope you will agree. As long as God is willing and I am able , I will be attending every Biscuit in the future, it was that good. Compare the expense, the hassles of a big city with the cost of going to bars, and I think most would agree. I forgot to mention that there are beer and wine tents at the fest. There is also a liquor store right on the corner of Cherry Street that sell 24oz beers for $1.50. You can buy anything you like to drink , and bring it to the fest. However , coolers are not allowed. If the Biscuit is selected, I will do all I can to make it the best Blues gathering ever ... Thanks for allowing me to present my case. Luvs ya all !!!!!!

  Friday, January 12, 2001 06:07:47 AM