2018 King Biscuit Blues Festival Was A Hot One!
By Lew Jetton
Helena, AR - The 2018 edition of the King Biscuit Blues Festival was a hot one in more ways than one.  While there is always plenty of hot music, this year also included very summer-like, hot, humid conditions with temperatures topping out near 90 each day, but the thousands of Blues Music fans didn't seem to mind!

"The Biscuit" began Thursday, October 4th, with 2017 Grammy Winner and favorite, Bobby Rush headlining.  Friday brought a full afternoon of evening of Blues, including several favorites who return each year, including Reba Russell, Paul Thorn and Anson Funderburgh at the Rockets.  It's easy to tell, for many of the performers, it's one of their favorite shows each year.  The Friday night finale was Southern Rocker, Blackberry Smoke, and they lived up to their name, delivering a smoking hot set which really rocked the huge crowd.

Saturday kicked into high gear as another group of festival favorites made their annual pilgrimage to the main stage, former Muddy Waters guitarist Bob Margolin, along with Bob Stroger and Kenny "Beedy Eyes" Smith, grandson of the late, great drummer, Willie "Big Eyes" Smith. Guitar enthusiasts really enjoyed the set by former Allman Brothers guitarist, Jack Person, and a particularly high energy performance by Hamilton Loomis. Perhaps the biggest show stopper on Saturday, however, was Carolyn Wonderland.  The Texas Blueswoman is the first female guitar player with John Mayall's band, following in the footsteps of legends Walter Trout, Eric Clapton and Peter Green, among others.  Wonderland wowed the crowd with her Janis Joplin-like voice to go along with her mastery of the guitar and lap steel guitar.  The rousing performance earned her the biggest and longest standing ovation of the entire festival.  Saturday's finale was a pairing of Memphis Blues Legend, Steve Cropper and British Invasion Pioneer, Dave Mason. Mason and Cropper swapped stories and songs into the night to provide a great ending to another wonderful King Biscuit Blues Festival. 

This year was the 33rd Edition of the King Biscuit Blues Festival, which draws hundreds of thousands to the sleepy little Mississippi River Delta town each year.  Always held the weekend before Columbus Day, the festival takes it name from the old King Biscuit Time radio show, which begin airing in the 1940s on Helena station, KFFA. The show featured a cast of entertainers which included blues legends Sonny Boy Williamson, Robert Lockwood Jr, Rice Miller and many more. This year's festival was dedicated to the late "Sunshine" Sonny Payne, who hosted King Biscuit Time on KFFA from 1951 until his death earlier this year. 

Besides the main stage, there are also several other stages full of music in Downtown Helena during the festival. Blues fans got to hear the best in Blues, ranging from acoustic to electric. Several performers, including Bobby Rush, Bob Margolin and more, played on the main stage and also on the other stages.  A few of the favorites on the Front Porch Stage, the Cedell Davis stage and Lockwood Stackhouse stage included Sweet Angel, Bob Margolin, with "Beady Eyes" Smith and Tom Holland, BB Queen, Rikki D and more! 

As it is every year for many at the King Biscuit Blues Festival, it's also a homecoming of sorts, as friends from around the nation and the world, come together to share their love for music, and also catch up with each other!  Over the year's, it's just become another of the traditions which make coming to "The Biscuit" an annual trip which many refuse to miss!  

Published 11:00 AM, Wednesday Oct. 10, 2018
Updated 10:55 AM, Wednesday Oct. 10, 2018



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