Former King Biscuit Festival Seeks Support from Arkansans

SEPTEMBER 1, 2006 - Posted at 7:11 a.m. CDT

HELENA-WEST HELENA, AR - Organizers of the Arkansas Blues & Heritage Festival at Helena-West Helena hope to raise $100,000 in the next 30 days to pay for the three-day festival that begins October 5.

Wayne Andrews, executive director of the Sonny Boy Blues Society, which puts on the festival every year, said the group is trying to go into the festival this year having paid for it and able to make a profit.

Often billed as the largest free blues festival in the world, the event was known for 19 years as the King Biscuit Blues Festival.  But it was renamed the Arkansas Blues & Heritage Festival in 2005 after New York-based King Biscuit Entertainment Group demanded $20,000 for the continued use of the King Biscuit title.

Andrews said the festival costs about $250,000 to put on each year.  He said the group is about halfway toward reaching its fundraising goal, but would like to get more support from Arkansas and state-affiliated groups.

(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)