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View Full Version : Please let me rant about something. (Waaaay too long)


JimNasium
09-12-2005, 07:25 PM
I know most of you will really not care about this issue but itís something that I hold near and dear to my heart so I feel compelled to share it with you. Iím a passionate blues fan. This form of music speaks to my soul and I love to learn about the music, listen to it, collect albums and travel to festivals.

One of the festivals that Iíve discovered over the years is the King Biscuit Blues Festival in Helena Arkansas. Helena is a river port city and was a very prosperous city in the 1920s, 30s and 40s. It served as an agricultural hub for the region and a local company began sponsoring the ďKing Biscuit TimeĒ radio show and showcased local blues talents including a Helena talent named Sonny Boy Williamson.

Twenty years ago a group of blues enthusiasts decided that this music needed to be preserved and began holding a yearly festival during the first week of October. This festival is very unique from anything Iíve ever participated in. First of all itís free. No one is excluded based on the means test. The rich, poor and middle-class are allowed to intermingle and enjoy music. Secondly, it is entirely volunteer run. The resultant organized chaos is possibly one of the most endearing qualities. Finally most of the attendees camp on the site and Iíve never felt such a sense of community as I do during those three days in October.

The name ďKing BiscuitĒ now belongs to a New York interest and they have decided to pull the name from the festival because it is not profitable enough for them. Iím angry about this move for many reasons. First, we have grown used to referring to our destination as ďthe BiscuitĒ. Iím not going to warm up to calling it the ďArkansas Blues and Heritage FestivalĒ anytime soon. Secondly, I feel that to a certain extent a corporate entity (a New York corporate entity at that) is stealing the cultural identity of a town and region that doesnít have much going for it in the first place.

Iím not one to get all fired up about the evil corporate machine but this is personal to me. Itís like someone has hurt a friend of mine. Does anyone have any ideas on what can be done to put some pressure on KBE? Thanks for reading this and letting me get it off of my chest. Below is the news release announcing this decision.
Sonny Boy Blues Society (SBBS) Board of Directors announces as of today, the name of the annual blues festival will be called Arkansas Blues and Heritage Festival. The festival will remain the same; offering its uniqueness in its location in historic downtown Helena, the same quality line up of blues artists, and will remain under the production and ownership of the SBBS.

The decision to change the name from the King Biscuit Blues Festival to the Arkansas Blues and Heritage Festival comes after several years of negotiating behind the scenes between the King Biscuit Entertainment (KBE) Group based in New York City and the SBBS in Helena, AR. KBE owns the trademark of the name "King Biscuit" so every year since 2001 (the year the ownership of the festival was transferred from Main Street Helena to SBBS), SBBS has had to get KBE's permission to use the name for the festival. Permission had been issued and accepted between both parties until this year.
SBBS was presented with a proposal earlier in the year asking for a large fraction based on the festival's income, not profit. After all the requested percentages based on merchandise sales and monies raised through sponsorships, the total was looking to be close to $15,000 just for SBBS to get to use the name "King Biscuit" in the festival name. The festival, on a good year, barely profits that much so that amount was not feasible to the society. A counter offer was sent to KBE offering a more reasonable amount for the small non-profit organization to pay for the name usage. "We offered to pay a license fee, provide recognition for the radio program, which KBE produces, and other benefits to establish an ongoing relationship, but evidently the KBE Group thought it was not enough" says Wayne Andrews, SBBS Director.
On August 10th, the KBE Group faxed a letter to the festival office in Helena advising the society to cease using the King Biscuit name, effective immediately, in all advertising, promotional materials, merchandise, signage, etc.
The letter came just fifty-seven days before the twentieth annual KBBF-one of the largest blues festivals in the country. Since that time, seeing it was so close to this year's festival, SBBS officials have tried to have a dialogue with KBE to grant its permission to use the name just for this year's event, but their efforts came to no avail. "It is hard to understand how a group from New York which did not start business until 1973 can end up owning a name for a radio show that has been on the air in Arkansas since the 1941. The King Biscuit name has over 60 years of business and music history in Helena and now the festival, which is something that was started in Helena will have to change its name because of a company in New York," added Andrews.
The King Biscuit Blues Festival was launched to preserve the music traditions of the Delta. The name of the festival came from King Biscuit Flour which was produced in Helena, and sponsored the first blues radio show in the country, "King Biscuit Time" which is still broadcast weekdays on KFFA.
The Society had made plans in the event that the counter-offer wasn't accepted by the KBE Group and had a special-called board meeting on July 29th to decide on a proper name to fit the festival. Wayne Andrews, SBBS Director and Festival Director, began the proper paperwork to trademark and copyright the new name. A graphic artist is currently creating a new logo, as well.
The impact on the festival was summed up by Andrews: "I don't think it will affect the attendance; as many people come for the experience not because of the name. A large financial burden will be placed on the non profit organization due to the last minute change of merchandise with such a short time before the big event."
"Nothing about the logistics and offering of the festival will change. The only things changing are the name and logo; everything else will remain the same" says Andrews. Rayne Gordon, SBBS President, adds: "We hated to be put in this position because of the history of the festival, and took the situation very seriously. We feel, in the long run, the new name will be best for the festival. We hope everyone in the community and in the blues community will help us spread the word of the name change and are looking forward to celebrating the Twentieth Annual Arkansas Blues and Heritage Festival on October 6th -8th."
The Society is moving ahead with plans for this year's celebrated event by recently hosting a "Listening Party" announcing the line up of entertainment for this year's festival and the official poster unveiling is set to take place on September 15th at First Bank of the Delta's downtown branch at 502 Cherry Street beginning at 5:00 p.m. For more information on this event or the festival in general, call the festival office at (870) 338-8798.
About the Sonny Boy Blues Society:
Formed in 1987, the Sonny Boy
Blues Society is named after Sonny Boy Williamson, one of the primary performers on the legendary King Biscuit Time radio program. The organization consists of members from over forty states and ten countries and is a 501(c) 3 non-profit organization managing and producing the annual Arkansas Blues and Heritage Festival (formerly King Biscuit Blues Festival), BluesAid, and Blues in Schools program. The society began with a mission and is proud to be a leader in the blues world to honor that mission to this day; to preserve and promote the rich heritage and art of the traditional delta blues.
For more information:
Wayne Andrews, Executive Director
Rayne Gordon, President
Sonny Boy Blues Society
233 Cherry Street
P.O. Box 118
Helena, Arkansas 72342
870.338.8758
870.338.8798

siberian khatru
09-12-2005, 07:30 PM
This is almost as long as Mcan's play-by-play analysis of the Jets game. But not nearly as interesting. :p

JimNasium
09-12-2005, 07:31 PM
This is almost as long as Mcan's play-by-play analysis of the Jets game. But not nearly as interesting. :p
ROFL Have I ever mentioned how much I truly hate you?

siberian khatru
09-12-2005, 07:33 PM
ROFL Have I ever mentioned how much I truly hate you?

Many, many times, but not in awhile. Thanks for the reminder! :thumb:

OldTownChief
09-12-2005, 07:36 PM
I know most of you will really not care about this issue but itís something that I hold near and dear to my heart so I feel compelled to share it with you. Iím a passionate blues fan. This form of music speaks to my soul and I love to learn about the music, listen to it, collect albums and travel to festivals.

One of the festivals that Iíve discovered over the years is the King Biscuit Blues Festival in Helena Arkansas. Helena is a river port city and was a very prosperous city in the 1920s, 30s and 40s. It served as an agricultural hub for the region and a local company began sponsoring the ďKing Biscuit TimeĒ radio show and showcased local blues talents including a Helena talent named Sonny Boy Williamson.

Twenty years ago a group of blues enthusiasts decided that this music needed to be preserved and began holding a yearly festival during the first week of October. This festival is very unique from anything Iíve ever participated in. First of all itís free. No one is excluded based on the means test. The rich, poor and middle-class are allowed to intermingle and enjoy music. Secondly, it is entirely volunteer run. The resultant organized chaos is possibly one of the most endearing qualities. Finally most of the attendees camp on the site and Iíve never felt such a sense of community as I do during those three days in October.

The name ďKing BiscuitĒ now belongs to a New York interest and they have decided to pull the name from the festival because it is not profitable enough for them. Iím angry about this move for many reasons. First, we have grown used to referring to our destination as ďthe BiscuitĒ. Iím not going to warm up to calling it the ďArkansas Blues and Heritage FestivalĒ anytime soon. Secondly, I feel that to a certain extent a corporate entity (a New York corporate entity at that) is stealing the cultural identity of a town and region that doesnít have much going for it in the first place.

Iím not one to get all fired up about the evil corporate machine but this is personal to me. Itís like someone has hurt a friend of mine. Does anyone have any ideas on what can be done to put some pressure on KBE? Thanks for reading this and letting me get it off of my chest. Below is the news release announcing this decision.


Why the hell is'nt LJ starting :mad:

chagrin
09-12-2005, 08:34 PM
King Biscuit Flour Hour - ahh the memories :) I am also familiar with this, the name lives on in radio infamy for folks like me and others. I was even speaking to an old friend from Louisiana over the weekend about "the good ole days" and King Biscuit was brought up. It's a shame, but dude, unless you are confident in your ability to muster up enough support, and endurance to keep the drive alive, it will be very very difficult to change the minds of that corporation. Unfortunately even King Biscuit is not immune to today's "free agent" mindset of both individuals and corporate America.

Sorry dude, this is sad news indeed but wtf can you do?

Phobia
09-12-2005, 08:42 PM
They should use the name anyway. Is somebody going to sue a non-profit? KBE sucks. New Yorkers suck. I hope somebody from KBE cried during the game yesterday. I hate corporate bastards.

Jenny Gump
09-12-2005, 08:53 PM
I feel your pain. If you need to start a protest, let me know. I'll be there. I would find it fun to protest something, in the name of defeating corporate greed.


Nevermind I work for a corporation.

Can I make my own sign? Can I paint myself blue and march? Maybe I can dust myself with biscuit flour and then march. That would show em.

|Zach|
09-12-2005, 08:56 PM
I feel your pain. If you need to start a protest, let me know. I'll be there. I would find it fun to protest something, in the name of defeating corporate greed.


Nevermind I work for a corporation.

Can I make my own sign? Can I paint myself blue and march? Maybe I can dust myself with biscuit flour and then march. That would show em.
Maybe you should try and seduce the company from the bottom up...start with the janitors hot dog vendors that work outside of their HQ.

Move all the way to CEO and then take control!

Good luck. Bottoms up.

Jenny Gump
09-12-2005, 09:11 PM
Maybe you should try and seduce the company from the bottom up...start with the janitors hot dog vendors that work outside of their HQ.

Move all the way to CEO and then take control!

Good luck. Bottoms up.

That's a good plan...except I couldn't seduce a fly with a jar of relish.

go bowe
09-12-2005, 11:32 PM
why would a fly have a jar of relish?

go bowe
09-12-2005, 11:33 PM
or...

i wish i was a fly, so i could show you that you are wrong... :p :p :p

jidar
09-12-2005, 11:37 PM
They're relish flys. Big as a man, eat ballpark franks. Deadly and gluttonous.

Bob Dole
09-13-2005, 04:48 AM
That sucks more than necessary.

Would a photo of Johnny Lowebow showing a room full of 6th graders how to make a cigar box guitar make you feel any better?