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A great event for the entire family

Many of music’s greatest compositions blues and otherwise – started out with lyrics and notes scrawled out on a napkin. The Barnesville Barbecue & Blues Festival was conceived in precisely the same manner. Two accomplished musicians who shared a great love for barbecue came up with the idea eight years ago and made their original notes on a napkin after a meal of barbecue and stew. One of those men was Carl Pruett, frontman for the Buckeye band. Pruett and his band have been a staple at the festival since its inception and worked hard to bring quality music to BBQ & Blues. The other man was the late Dewaine T. Bell, superb saxophonist and mayor of Barnesville. Bell lived to see and participate in four festivals with his band 4U2C. He also sold the festival idea to the City of Barnesville and the Barnesville-Lamar County Chamber of Commerce. Seven years later, the festival is the premiere event of its kind in the southeast and that is a tribute to Bell, Pruett and their shared vision. BBQ & Blues is unique in that it offers up a wide variety of free music. The show starts Friday evening with a free concert at the barbecue stage between the tax commissioner’s office and what was once First National Bank. Both 4U2C and Buckeye will play Friday night and we will remember Dewaine Bell for the many contributions he made to Barnesville, Lamar County, its young people and its music legacy Saturday night when the scholarship named for him is awarded. If you’ve not experienced BBQ & Blues, you should give it a try. There is plenty of music, including authentic blues, and enough barbecue to sate your appetite for awhile. This is not just any old barbecue, either. It is prepared by competition cook teams from all over the south who set out to impress the judges and take home cash and trophies. A stroll through downtown Barnesville will leave you aghast at the effort that goes into preparing this barbecue. You will marvel at the elaborate smokers and meet some of the nicest folks you have ever met in your life. There is a kid’s park full of attractions for the youngsters and a custom car show Friday night for the motorheads. BBQ & Blues is basically a free event. You will pay a modest fee to sample barbecue and admission to Saturday night’s main concert event is $10 but everything else is free. It is a great event for the entire family. There has been some concern that the festival is occurring on Easter weekend but organizers note the event is consistently held on the fourth Saturday in April to cement it on the calendars of the cook teams and their association. Easter, as we know, is a moveable feast. The dating of it goes back to the Gregorian and Julian calendars but basically it falls on the first Sunday after the full moon following the vernal equinox. The vernal equinox almost always falls on March 20. We know that day as the first day of Spring. Those who run BBQ & Blues want people to enjoy Easter and all that goes with it. They also hope that folks home for the holiday will take in the festival and enjoy it. For more information on BBQ & Blues, see related coverage on” or call the chamber of commerce at 770-358-5884 or visit the chamber website site at

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