Those are the words of Anacortes business owner Rick Star, co-founder of the unique November 4-5 event titled “Brewgrass! – Bluegrass and Microbrew Celebration.”
It has been 13 years since Star and fellow musician/Anacortes resident Barry Brower conceived Brewgrass!
Star, whose passion for this event has only intensified over the years, said the dream was to create an exciting fall event with a nod to the Chamber of Commerce mission of attracting people to the community to “eat, play, shop and stay.”
“Previous fall events included a jazz festival and an event we called “Pub Nights,” said Star. “Barry and I threw out the idea of Brewgrass! as an invitation to collaborate among several businesses. It gained traction, and we continue to work together, inspired by the common cause of bringing people to town and showing them a good time.”
Star, who is co-owner of two pubs as well as the Anacortes Brewery, is also a musician. Brower, a bluegrass writer and historian, has been at the core of groups including The Fossils. He formed the Friends of Sally Johnson in the 1980s and was a longtime emcee of KBCS “Bluegrass Ramble.”
Brower’s resume testifies to his love for bluegrass. Star said he traces his love of bluegrass back to the Seventies and an album by the David Grisman Quintet.
From his experience with Brewgrass! audiences, he has concluded that wide ranging passion is true for many.
Brewgrass! 2016 features a mix of traditional and contemporary bluegrass bands. This year’s lineup includes six acts over two days at three establishments: the Rockfish Grill; the Brown Lantern Ale House and H2O Tavern.
Among those performing this year will be David’s Drinking Band, Pearly Blue and Jake Navarro. Brower and his wife, Jen (the Duntons) perform with Pearly Blue, and Navarro is also an Anacortes-based musician.
“The appeal is that people can come into these three downtown businesses and enjoy an amazing offering of 51 microbrews and live bluegrass music, all within a two-block space in historic Anacortes,” said Star.
“I’ve met some people who stumbled into Brewgrass! by accident and have returned,” he said. “We see familiar faces every year. Brewgrass! not only has a following of ‘regulars,’ but it draws new people every year because of a revived national interest in this music among young people. It’s a great event!”
Here’s a look at this year’s line-up:
Rockfish: Rain City Ramblers 8PM
H2O: The Duntons 7:30PM
Brown Lantern: Queen’s Bluegrass 9:30PM
Rockfish: Pearly Blue 8PM
H2O: Jake Navarro and Sander Vinberg 7:30PM
Brown Lantern: Marcel and Nakos 9:30PM