NC Brewers and Music Festival expands to two nights
Up I-77 North in Huntersville lies a giant field that for one weekend brings together craft beer and music lovers. Entering its fourth year, the NC Brewers and Music Festival is one where you can enjoy great beer while listening to live music and — here’s the best part — not have to worry about how you’re getting home.
And the festival, which will take place May 9 and 10 at Rural Hill, is set up to have perhaps its biggest turnout yet with the addition of an extra night, along with the announcement that Greensky Bluegrass will be headlining this year’s festival.
“It should be a really great time, and we’re using it as a trial run to continue to add more days to the festival,” says Micah Davidson, one of the festival’s organizers. “The other reason for adding Friday night camping is because we noticed that so many people wanted to camp … trying to get them set up on Saturday morning meant that they’d miss some of the music and the beer tasting by the time they got into the campgrounds and got set up.”
From my past experience at this festival, I can vouch for what Davidson is saying. There would be cars lined up early in the morning before the campgrounds opened, and by the time everyone found a spot and got set up, the festival’s noon start had already begun (while beers are sold throughout the day, the tasting session you get with your ticket only lasts until 3 p.m.) By adding an extra night of camping, people can now wake up, have breakfast (and perhaps a breakfast beer) and not be rushed.
The other plus to the extra night is more music. Davidson said two bands (both of which featuring members of Sol Driven Train, who has played the NCBMF every year), The Reckoning and Hit Or Miss, will play exclusively on Friday in the campground to those who purchase the extra camping ticket. The Reckoning is a Grateful Dead cover project, and will be performing the entire Europe ’72 live album. Hit Or Miss will play a full set of Wood Brothers and Avett Brothers covers.
“We want people to enjoy as much of the festival as they possibly can, and get their money’s worth for sure,” Davidson says.
In past years, this festival has featured acclaimed bluegrass acts in Steep Canyon Rangers, Acoustic Syndicate and Larry Keel. Personally, I’m excited for Greensky Bluegrass, who I’ve seen on a couple occasions. Out of Michigan, this five-piece band mixes in original songs with impressive covers of Paul Simon, Allman Brothers, Bob Marley and Traffic, among others. (Here’s a cover of Dire Straits’ “Money for Nothing,” if you want to check them out.)
The other bands scheduled for Saturday’s lineup are Big Daddy Love, Sol Driven Train, Spirit Family Reunion, Jesse Dee and John Stickley. Performances run throughout the whole day and evening, and it’s a great backdrop to the other main focus of the festival – the beer.
While the brewers have yet to be announced for 2014, I’d expect about the same lineup as in years past, if not more. Last year, more than 30 breweries were featured, including each of the Charlotte ones. And since the beginning, the Queen City has been well represented in the Brewer of the Year award the festival’s organizers give out at the conclusion of the NCBMF.
The inaugural award was won by NoDa Brewing, Ass Clown Brewing captured the trophy in 2012 and last year’s recipient was one of Charlotte’s newest breweries, Free Range Brewing.
Davidson added the festival is also adding yoga on Saturday and Sunday mornings during the festival, and other surprises are still to come. Tickets for the 2014 N.C. Brewers and Music Festival will go on sale next Wednesday, Jan. 15. For more information and to buy tickets, go to the festival’s Web site.