Valerie June. Photo by Brian Chilson.
ARKANSAS BLUES AND HERITAGE FESTIVAL
Noon, Cherry Street Pavilion, Helena. Free.
The name may've changed, but the spirit of the Arkansas Blues and Heritage Festival (forever King Biscuit in the hearts of blues fans every-where), now in its 23rd year, remains the same. For three days, somewhere near 100,000 revelers sit atop levees overlooking the Cherry Street Pavilion, eat turkey legs, drink beer and soak up the blues. Dozens of local, regional and national blues performers are spread across four stages in downtown Helena. On Thursday, some of the big names include genre blenders Webb Wilder and the Beatnecks (7:15 p.m.) and blues guitar hero Tinsley Ellis (8:50 p.m.). On Friday, long-time festival vet Pinetop Perkins performs with Bob Margolin (5:30 p.m.) and Camden native Michael Burks demonstrates the guitar work that's earned him national acclaim (8:45 p.m.). On Saturday, name acts include Willie “Big Eyes” Smith (5:30 p.m.), doing songs from his new album, “Born in Arkansas”; Jackson's Bobby Rush (7 p.m.), and RL's son Cedric Burnside with Lightnin' Malcolm (8:30 p.m.).