by Robert Bell
The Clarion Ledger yesterday reported that the Highway 61 Blues Festival in Leland, Miss., usually held in early June, would be moved this year to Sept. 29, the weekend before the King Biscuit Blues Festival in Helena, Oct. 4-6. The annual Holly Ridge Jam, also held in June, will move as well this year, to Sept. 30.
Billy Johnson, founder of the Highway 61 festival, told the Ledger "we'll work with the B.B. King Museum, the Delta Blues Museum and the Delta Cultural Center in Helena to create activities between the festivals. There'll also be blues in the clubs, and hopefully they'll come and see all the Blues Trail markers and really dig into the history of the blues."
Munnie Jordan, executive director of King Biscuit, confirmed the collaboration. "We see this as a win-win for everybody," she said. "International visitors come over for King Biscuit and they want to stay longer. They want things to do."
While the schedules are coordinated, the two festivals probably won't partner in terms of the artists that are performing at them. "But we're talking," Jordan said. "We're not overlapping and we're not in competition. Everybody seems to be behind it."