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Harrison County denies beach permits for upcoming Black Spring Break

Photo from Mississippi Black Spring Break/Facebook

Black Spring Break is still happening in Mississippi, but some modifications may have to be made by event organizers.

The large annual spring break gathering attended by tens of thousands is set to be underway on the Mississippi Gulf Coast in just over two weeks, but an announcement from Harrison County on Tuesday could cause some of the festivities to be canceled.

During a Biloxi City Council meeting, a memo from the county was presented, stating that permits for special use or commercial sound events on the beach would not be issued per the request of Mississippi Black Spring Break organizers. The county has authority over the beach. This means that people will still be allowed to assemble on the beach, but events would have to be free of charge and vendors would not be present unless given special approval.

The move follows a decision by the city of Biloxi to deny event organizers’ request to use a location north of the beach for vendors and parking.

Officials denied the application citing elevated safety risks from people crossing Highway 90 back and forth — sentiments echoed by the county. Though Harrison County has approved permits for Black Spring Break in years past, other safety concerns have elevated stemming from last year’s Black Spring Break event in which one person was killed and four were injured in a mass shooting near Surf Style in Biloxi.

“This thing has morphed in the last three years. The recipe of guns, drugs, and alcohol in the duration of the event is what is really extraordinary,”  Biloxi Mayor FoFo Gilich said on The Ricky Mathews Show. “I don’t want anybody to feel that. The impacts on the neighborhoods were extraordinary.”

An appeal hearing regarding the city’s decision to deny the request is scheduled for Tuesday, April 2.

Black Spring Break is scheduled to be held from Friday, April 12 through Sunday, April 14. Most events will be taking place in Gulfport this year.

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