Delta Blues & Beyond

Celebrating American music and culture at it’s best.

As the home of “King Biscuit Time,” the longest running blues radio show, Helena has played a rich role in blues and music heritage over the years. This tradition has been carried on with a multitude of festivals, and arts and music events every year.

In the 1940’s and 1950’s, blues took off in the Delta, and Helena, Arkansas was at the center of it all. As a historic port city, Helena has long been a crossroads for artists from all backgrounds. King Biscuit Time, the longest running blues radio show in the country, served as an inspiration and launching point for many famous blues musicians and is credited with helping spread the Delta Blues upriver to Memphis and Chicago. When the show started in 1941, it was the only radio show in the country to feature African-American musicians.

Helena is also home to the world-famous King Biscuit Blues Festival, held for three days annually in October, and one of the nation’s foremost showcases of blues music. Tens of thousands of blues enthusiasts converge on historic downtown Helena, Arkansas to hear stirring and uplifting performances of a uniquely American art form on the banks of the Mississippi River. Recent headliners have included Bonnie Raitt, B.B. King, Buddy Guy, Keb’ Mo’, Dr. John, and Taj Mahal.

Beyond the blues, Helena hosts several other festivals and events that celebrate American music and culture at it’s best. For a great arts and music experience, we suggest you coordinate your trip with one of our many events. Finally for those of you who love to make artist pilgrimages, many famous musicians have come from the Helena and Phillips County area, most notably Levon Helm (from Marvell), Conway Twitty, Sonny Williamson, and Robert Lockwood Jr.

  • Court Square Park

    This downtown park hosts annual community events, including the Helena Holiday Festival. The park also features a reproduction field artillery…

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  • King Biscuit Blues Festival

    The King Biscuit Blues Festival, is one of the nation’s foremost showcases of blues music. Held for three days annually…

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  • Legendary Blues Fest

    Live Blues Music Concert and Festival along the Mississippi River in historic downtown Helena, AR...featuring Vic Allen, Ms Jody, Billy…

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  • Warfield Concerts

    These outstanding musical events are free of charge to all through the generosity of a former citizen of Helena. The…

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  • King Biscuit Radio Show

    King Biscuit Time, the longest running daily blues radio show in the United States, was first broadcast by KFFA Radio…

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The Delta Music Heritage Research Project is a two volume publication offered free to those who wish to dive deep into the music and culture of our region.

The musical legacy of the Arkansas Delta is significant. Few places can boast of being the home of so many people who have left their stamp on music. Blues, classical, country, folk, gospel, jazz, and rock-and-roll musicians, singers and songwriters came out of the Delta. The Arkansas Delta’s broad musical heritage reflects, in part, historic settlement and land use patterns and the area’s natural features. From the cotton fields of the Delta have come some of the world’s best musicians…

Arkansas Delta Music HeritageResearch Project