South Pearl’s longtime annual summer show got a new look this year as the Music and Beer Festival. For the past several years, the South Pearl Street Association has put on two concerts, a …
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South Pearl’s longtime annual summer show got a new look this year as the Music and Beer Festival.
For the past several years, the South Pearl Street Association has put on two concerts, a bluegrass show in June followed by a blues show in August. But after competing with new festivals like Velorama in August in the River North Art District, as well as the Colorado Rockies and Red Rocks concerts, the association decided to cut back.
Mark Gill, president of the association, said they hoped to pool resources into putting on one bigger event this year, which was held June 9 in the 1200 block of Pearl Street as the Music and Beer Festival.
“There is a lot more going on, a lot more competition than there was 12 years ago,” he said. “This year we decided, let’s try doing one and just push it … and just go from there. Let’s just roll out the kegs one time this year instead of two.”
Early counts from Swallow Hill Music, which ran ticket sales and music for the event, showed a 12 percent increase in ticket sales from last year. Gill said that nearly 5,000 people attended.
While South Pearl will not hold its second summer concert, Gill said the organization would still host its Oktoberfest and Winterfest events.
The South Pearl Street Association launched its first Blues and Brews concert in 2007. Gill said they started with one show and added the Brewgrass concert the next year. At first, Gill said they did things by the “seat of their pants.”
“We learned a lot the first year,” he said. “We’d all been to festivals, but we didn’t have a model to go by.”
The festival featured six bands this year, with Jon Cleary as the headliner. While shows in past years focused on either blues or bluegrass, Gill said the association went for a mixture this time.
Near the front of the stage on June 9, Kyle Cook stood holding his 1-year-old son Kavon, while his 3-year-old daughter Olivia danced to the first set by local bluegrass band That Damn Sasquatch. Cook said a friend of his lives in the neighborhood and that the music festival was a great opportunity to spend some time with the kids outside. The young pair are already bluegrass fans.
“They love dancing,” Cook said.
This year, 12 breweries came, including Oskar Blues Brewery and local pub Platt Park Brewing Co. Gill said that both breweries have participated in the event since it started in 2007.
Mark Birkin, who works with Wild Cider in Firestone, said it was his second time coming to pour beer at a festival on South Pearl. Wild Cider sold out of cider when he participated in the event two years ago. The cidery helps provide some variety, he said. Ciders appeal to crowds that want lighter options, similar to wine or champagne. The ciders are also gluten-free.
“It fits this crowd really, really good,” he said.
Platt Park resident Aden Holt said the festival was an opportunity to show his neighborhood pride. Holt is the founder of design agency One Ton Creative on South Pearl. In his spare time, he screenprints T-shirts in his garage as a hobby. On Saturday, he brought several screens to the festival and printed shirts with the South Pearl ZIP code, as well as other designs celebrating the neighborhood.
“I’m a proud Platt Park resident,” he said, “and I thought it would be fun to support the neighborhood.”
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