King Biscuit Blues Festival returning to Arkansas in October

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HELENA-WEST HELENA, Ark. — The King Biscuit Blues Festival is returning to Helena, Arkansas, in October after COVID-19 restrictions forced a two-year hiatus.

Munnie Jordan, executive director of the King Biscuit Blues Festival, says it’s way past time to bring the blues back to Helena.

“Every retail, every restaurant, especially these poor entertainers, everything has suffered in this last year, and everybody is ready to get back to normal,” Jordan said.

“Early Bird” discounted tickets went on sale Wednesday on the festival’s website. The event is scheduled for October 6 – October 9.

Last year’s festival was held virtually, and Jordan says 2021 will make up for “lost time.”

“The same lineup that we had in 2020, every single one of them are able to be back with us,” Jordan said. “So, we’re excited about that too.”

That excitement is also shared by local business owners anxious to welcome live music and customers back.

Emily and John Cleary own The Tavern bar and restaurant on Cherry Street. They say the festival’s return will help them recover from an economically dismal year.

“We can open up full capacity and finally have all the seats at our bar, which makes a big difference,” said Emily Cleary.

“It went from being packed to being empty. Yea, it hurt, it really hurt. It was really bad timing for us, but we’re still here,” said John Cleary.

The Cleary’s say they’ll also be able to hire on more employees to handle the expected crowds. Bartender and server Craig Carr says, “Bring it on.”

“People look forward to it,” Carr said. “People start talking about the Blues Fest as early as January. I mean, even the week after it’s over, people are already talking about how they’re coming back next year. So, I think it’s a really great thing.”

“Early Bird” discounted tickets will last until July.

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