King Biscuit Festival 2004

Fireman's Campground

Each year we camp at the Fireman's Campground just over the levee from the King Biscuit festival site. We pull in on Thursday afternoon to set up camp for the weekend. Usually the place is almost empty, but much to our surprise this year, the place was already bustling with activity. The reports of good weather, no rain, with lows in the 60s and highs in the 80s brought out an unusual number of brave souls with tents and Coleman stoves in tow.

Hairy Larry and Jerry Walker
Jamming in the rain at Fireman's Campground

We set up camp in our usual location and prepared to enjoy a glorious weekend of camping with friends and great music. An afternoon walkabout confirmed that many of our "Biscuit Buddies" were already there. That evening the weather was warm and we could hear the music from the main stage at our campsite so we didn't venture up the levee.

Hairy Larry jams the Bunky's Breakfast crowd on Friday, Saturday and Sunday mornings so we left early the next morning for Cherry Street. Rhode Island Red was already there. He and the "Hairy One" played some great accoustic blues. This is the third year for Jim and Larry to perform together at Bunky's. I had to leave early so I didn't get photos of the jammers who came in later.

Hairy Larry and Jim (Rhode Island Red)
Chapin at Bunky's Thursday Morning

By the time our friend John Weston hit the main stage it was beginning to look a little dreary. We carried our chairs up the levee and prepared to enjoy an afternoon of blues. John is an incredible songwriter and we always enjoy his performances.

A fellow camper, The Mississippi Spoonman, joined John for part of his set. Spoonman may be the most unique percussionist I have ever met. His electric spoons are a must see.

John Weston's daughter, Carla, on bass, John, and Spoonman.

By the time Sam Carr and The Delta Jukes came on it was starting to look like it was umbrella time. Sam is one of the greatest blues drummers ever. He also had Dave Riley on stage with him so we wanted to stay to see that performance. John, Sam, and Dave have all performed at Blues Fest here in Jonesboro. We made it to the end of the set before the drizzle started. That was our last dry day.

John Forbis picking a few at camp.

My favorite part of the festival is the music at the campground. So many talented folks spend the weekend at the campground that it is a mini festival in its own right. I love the music around the campfire each night as much as I love going to the festival to hear the blues legends that perform there.

Ronnie and Tammy Williams who
befriend many delta musicians.

The performers at the campground encompass all types of music. Many of the campers are professionals who love the atmosphere of the campground, and would rather spend their time at the festival enjoying the comraderie of the other campers instead of the limited space of a hotel/motel room.

John Forbis, Jerry Walker, and Bonnie Walker

Hairy Larry and Jerry Walker.

We pulled out of camp late Saturday afternoon. Normally we would have toughed it out and hung in there for the last hoorah but I wimped. I was cold, wet, and feeling my age so we packed up and headed home. I'm already making plans on better rain gear for next year. Hey, it wouldn't be King Biscuit if it didn't rain, now would it?

Vivian Heyl