B&E cancelled

The Kinchafoonee Cowboys may perform at outdoor concert in ‘21

Better Hometown’s Beats & Eats, an annual outdoor concert in the city park, has officially been canceled for this year due to ongoing concerns over COVID-19 (coronavirus).

BHT board members initially rescheduled the concert featuring the Kinchafoonee Cowboys from May 1 to July 24, but with the rising number of COVID-19 cases in the area, voted unanimously last week to cancel the event and attempt to reschedule the band for Beats & Eats in May 2021.

In an official statement released after the vote, BHT says canceling the concert is the most responsible thing to do at this time.

“We know that this will not be the popular decision but we do know that it is the responsible decision. So with a heavy heart, your Main Street/ Better Hometown Blackshear program must cancel this year’s Beats & Eats event that was scheduled to occur on July 24 in Blackshear City Park. Our hope is to reschedule The Kinchafoonee Cowboys for Beats & Eats in May 2021,” the statement reads.

The program will be refunding those who previously reserved a table for the event. Better Hometown Manager Bethany Strickland reported she had already sold 10 tables for the concert.

BHT will lose approximately $1,000 on a deposit previously paid to reserve the band, but T-shirts and other swag items ordered for Beats & Eats are not dated and will be used next year to promote the concert, Strickland says.

The BHT/Main Street program board considered the feasibility of socially distancing at the outdoor event during their discussion last week, noting it would be possible to set up tables six feet apart and mark off seating areas at an appropriate distance as well. No one would be allowed to approach the stage.

However, board members doubted their ability to police the public on social distancing at the event.

“You’ve just got to set up the rules and hope people follow them,” said board member Jeff Hull.

A few food vendors had expressed interest in attending the concert, but were waiting until closer to time to commit, also hesitant about COVID-19’s impact on the event.

Board members recognized their decision would be met with mixed community reaction  — some would be disappointed the event was canceled while others would support the decision as “responsible.”

As the board expected, comments on social media varied in opinion when the cancellation was first announced.