Volunteers and last-minute planning make the Biscuits, Beats and Brews Festival a success
The small river town of Rocheport saw its population grow from about 200 to nearly 5,000 throughout the weekend for the Biscuits, Beats and Brews festival.
The Rocheport festival was originally slated for the weekend of Oct. 6. However, the festival moved up to fill in the weekend that would have hosted Treeline Music Fest.
The date shift became an organizational challenge, said Colin LaVaute, the festival director. He said they needed to scramble together last-minute sponsors, volunteers and file correct permits for the event.
“It’s been a lot,” LaVaute said. “Throughout this process, I’ve learned a lot about myself and the people around me.”
LaVaute said none of this could’ve been done without the help of volunteers who pulled through to support him and this festival.
Emmi Weiner was one of the volunteers for the festival. She said these events are necessary for communities to bloom.
“Community is really important to me,” Weiner said. “It’s the only thing that actually cures things. You can take anti-depressants all you want but if you’re not participating in a community, you’re not going to get better. You’re going to feel better, but not get there.”
To many people at the festival, the loss of Treeline was hard. It was a yearly event they could look forward to in order to come together, dance and enjoy good music. For business owners, it was a guaranteed source of income.
The Columbia Convention and Visitors Bureau estimated a loss of $1 million dollars from business revenue alone due to Treeline’s cancellation, the Columbia Missourian has reported.
“I think it’s hard, things are just so expensive now,” Michelle Marcum, the event’s official merchandise seller, said. “The cost of doing business is just not worth it now for what you get paid.”
Marcum is a single mother of two, and with rising prices it’s hard to afford the cost of living. She said she saw a close friend of hers close her store because of rising expenses.
That’s why she’s glad festivals like these exist, she said. They provide a lifeline for businesses to thrive in.
“I do think it’s really great that this fest stepped in,” Marcum said. “I think it’s great they stepped up and [were] like, ‘let’s do something so the community isn’t totally, like lost.’”
LaVaute said he’s happy about the turnout of the festival. He remembers looking at the crowd late at night dancing, smiling and having fun.
“I was physically and mentally exhausted last night,” LaVaute recalled amid tears. “But to look around and to see that it worked … it’s one of the most professionally rewarding moments in my life.”