Two Coast bars host CMT's 'Party Down South'

klnelson@sunherald.comJune 30, 2014 

OCEAN SPRINGS -- "Party Down South," CMT network's hard-partying reality show, has been filming along the Coast during the last two weeks and more is expected over the next month and a half.

Manager Erin Valencia confirmed production crews with the show filmed at Zeppelins in Biloxi on Thursday and at Mississippi Juke Joint in Ocean Springs on June 20.

She also said she heard about them filming in a residential area, a house in the St. Martin/D'Iberville area.

But as far as where they'll be for the Fourth of July, she hasn't heard. And if she had, she wouldn't be able to tell. There's a confidentially issue.

"They haven't confirmed anything with us," she said. "We'd love to have them back for the Fourth. But we're going to be busy, we're going to be rock 'n rolling with or without them."

When they do film, any customer who comes into the bar has to sign a waiver. If there's no waiver, the customer's image has to be blurred out, Valencia said.

She said that wasn't a problem when they filmed at the Juke Joint on a busy Friday night.

"We really haven't had any negative customers, no one opposing," she said. In fact, it attracts customers. "It brings out the curious, spectators."

The business isn't allowed to advertise when the crews are filming, but customers get on Facebook and word spreads, she said.

Several businesses in both cities have signed up with 495 Productions allowing it to film the show in their establishments. Valencia said the company has "a lot of options."

But staff at two other popular bars in Ocean Springs said there has been no filming at their establishments yet. A spokeswoman for 495 said she couldn't comment on anything in production.

Valencia said the produc

tion company can call the day they would like to shoot with only a few hours notice.

"If there's something going on and we're not able to, we just say, 'no.'"

The show has kicked up some controversy. Gautier and Ocean Springs both passed declarations they didn't want a show with that kind of image filming in their town.

But Biloxi welcomes it.

The Coast as a community has decided it wants to host the film industry, said Vincent Creel, spokesman for Biloxi. "Now we're going to get choosy?"

He said the image issue was ridiculous. The show is scripted and brings in a cast of actors.

"Did the 'Beverly Hillbillies' destroy Beverly Hills' reputation?" he asked.

Valencia said the film crew and cast numbered 20 to 30 people.

They came in once and just ordered food.

"Last Monday night, they ordered take out -- $500," she said. "We did appreciate the business."

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