Barbashela BBQ & Music Festival doesn’t miss a beat amid COVID-19 concerns

At least one festival didn’t miss a beat or a chord on Saturday in the middle of the coronavirus anxiety.
Updated: Mar. 14, 2020 at 8:42 PM CDT
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BILOXI, Miss. (WLOX) - At least one festival didn’t miss a beat or a chord on Saturday in the middle of the coronavirus anxiety.

For Beauvoir management, allowing the Barbashela BBQ & Music Festival to go on was an easy call to make.

“We discussed it in our staff meeting on Wednesday,” said Callie Bunter, marketing and event coordinator for Beauvoir. “We discussed it yesterday, especially when we found out Grillin’ on the Green and the other Biloxi events were canceled for the month. We decided that we would lose out, and also our community would lose out. We have vendors that came from Grillin’ on the Green to come here.”

Brenda Queen, owner of Queen’s Crafts, has been a vendor at this festival all three years.

“We had applied for another festival up in Waynesboro, and it’s been canceled. There’s a possibility that the one in Hurley will be canceled, and a lot of the others have already been canceled,” she said. “So, when she (Bunter) notified me that we could come on today, I was excited.”

It was an easy call to make for those seeking a sense of normalcy.

“We’re concerned about it, but we feel like living in fear is not the way we want to live,” said Cheryl Boatner of Gulfport.

She felt the open-air concert was a safe enough environment.

“We’re sort of sitting away from everybody,” she said. “I’ve got my trusty hand sanitizer. So, we wanted to come out and enjoy and spend the day outside.”

Mary Mattheiss of Pensacola is on her way to New Orleans with her husband, Tim, to celebrate their 50th anniversary.

“We struggled with the decision to come on our trip, but we decided we have faith over fear and we decided we only celebrate our 50th anniversary once in our lifetime, so we decided to go ahead with it,” she said.

On their way, Barbashela called out.

“It’s open-air, and it’s a beautiful day,” Mattheiss said. “And we just couldn’t resist it.”

The festival featured 15 vendors on the grounds and four bands.

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