The Trifecta: Burgers, Brews and Bluegrass is All Summer in a Day
Thrive has been working on the cause of local food and economies for more than a decade, trying to connect growers to grocers and when necessary, assist growers in scaling their operations up to the needs of grocers.
“A lot of it is building those relationships,” says Executive Director Wendy Siporen.
Siporen says that for years the Ashland-based nonprofit had been holding the somewhat traditional dinner and auction as part of their Eat Local event in September. But they found they were competing with many other nonprofits doing the same.
“We thought that was at the end of the grilling season,” says Siporen. “Why not do it at the start?”
So three years ago, they switched things up by launching Burgers, Brews and Bluegrass, a three-pronged delight for the senses that helps launch Medford Beer Week and summer as a whole.
“It’s a fundraiser for Thrive, but it’s so in line with our mission of promoting local businesses and food,” says Siporen.
What the event entails is pretty much right there in the name—in more ways than one. The sheer abundance of goodness is just as much of a mouthful as the tongue-twisting triple-B title, including eight hours of music, dozens of Southern Oregon craft-brews and grills packed with local meat.
“I think that’s what’s unique about this event is bringing together all three of those elements,” says Siporen. “There’s a lot of events that just feature beer, or music. This is a great mingling of all three.”
And despite it being in large part a beer fest, Siporen and crew are all about bringing the kids.
“I personally believe that when families are there and you create that British pub atmosphere, you discourage the people that would abuse that from coming,” she says.
Headlining bands include San Francisco’s Steep Ravine, and the Bend-based Moon Mountain Ramblers. Sons of the Soil, Sage Meadows and High Country, and Honey Don’t will warm the stage for them.
“We’re offering some additional variety this year, some stuff that Southern Oregon music lovers may not have heard before because they’re bands that haven’t played in this area before,” says Siporen.
But if you’re only half-in on the bluegrass, worry not. There’s still all those burgers and brews.
“There’s 13 brewers,” says Siporen. “And we’re still accepting new ones.”
That includes a wide variety of seasonals and classics, as well as at least three breweries that are new to the festival this year: Apple Outlaw, Griess Family Brews and Swing Tree Brewing.
And then there’s all the Rogue Valley meat on the grill to pair up with those brews. The farthest away that anything is coming from is near Roseburg. And the burgers that result are all being designed by chef Neil Clooney, the meat-wizard responsible for Smithfields in Ashland. Tickets to taste those burgers are included in the price of admission.
Whatever your interest, Siporen feels confident you’ll have a great time.
“I think that’s what makes the event so successful,” she says. “Some people come for the beer. And then they get into the music. Some people come for the music and then they hear about the great work that Thrive is doing to support locally grown food.”
Brews, Burgers and Bluegrass
Noon, Sat., June 13
Edenvale Winery, 2310 Voorhies Road, Medford
$15 advance, $18 door. Children 15 and under are free.