Event organizer wants boycott of Beale - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Event organizer wants boycott of Beale

After a long battle the King Biscuit Blues Festival in Helena, Arkansas, had to give up that name to the New York based company that owns the rights to it.

Now, some local musicians fear their loss will be Memphis' gain and their asking music fans to boycott Beale.

Musicians and instruments of every shape and shape were loaded into nightclubs all along Beale Street Thursday.

They're in Memphis for the annual International Blues Challenge and Wayne Andrews wants an autograph from all of them.

Andrews is generating a petition that calls for a boycott of a club and music festival coming to Memphis that will bear the name that his event lost last year, King Biscuit.

"It started in Helena and it travels with musicians that came to Memphis and brought the blues to Memphis and it turned to rock and roll," said Andrews.

As organizer of the Helena, Arkansas, festival formerly known as King Biscuit, Andrews says Memphis will soon be cashing in on a musical heritage that doesn't belong here.

"I think they're trying to confuse music fans to come to Memphis, to come to their ticketed event instead of an invent that's in the poor regions of the Delta that's about preserving the music," he said.

"I don't think Memphis should prosper off of another man's pain misery and hard work," said musician Gary Thomas Starnes.

King Biscuit got its name from the oldest radio show in history broadcast from Helena.

Although the festival used the name for 19 years, a New York based company owns the rights. That same company is also behind the King Biscuit Café.

Andrews is asking fans to turn their backs on big business that he says aims to profit from his loss.

Action News 5 spoke with officials from Performa tonight. They're the company that leases buildings on Beale.

Performa's stand is that Helena festival organizers can use the name King Biscuit if they would pay for the rights to use it. Adding that they have been given opportunities to do that.

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