Brewgrass!

This year celebrates the 15th year of Brewgrass! A Bluegrass and Microbrew Celebration right here in downtown Anacortes

“Don’t forget the exclamation mark!” – Those are the words of Anacortes business owner Rick Star, co-founder (with and fellow musician/Anacortes resident Barry Brower) of BREWGRASS! 

The Rockfish Grill and the Brown Lantern Ale House will each feature some amazing bluegrass bands Friday and Saturday November 2nd and 3rd starting at 8:00PM and going all the way til around midnight.

2 Clubs, 4 Bands, Hot Dang!

Brewgrass! 2018 features a mix of traditional and contemporary bluegrass bands. This year’s lineup includes four acts over two evenings at two establishments: the Rockfish Grill and the Brown Lantern Ale House. Admission is free to the both!

“The appeal is that people can come into these three downtown businesses and enjoy an amazing offering of 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!”

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 the Rockfish Grill 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. “I like all flavors, from Bill Monroe, the grandfather of bluegrass, to more contemporary artists like Yonder Mountain String Band,” said Star.

Here’s a peek at this year’s line-up:

Friday 11/2
Rockfish Grill – Roosevelt Road 8PM
Brown Lantern – Sweet Lou’s Sour Mash 9:30PM

Saturday 11/3
Rockfish Grill – High Mountain String Band 8PM
Brown Lantern – Pickled Okra 9:30PM


Seattle based Sweet Lou’s Sour Mash is a bluegrass band with punk rock energy. Started in March of 2013, they’ve been refining their sound and high-energy live show ever since. Mixing originals, punk covers, rock ‘n roll covers, and their own twist on traditional bluegrass tunes, Sweet Lou’s is a band for all occasions. They host a much-loved free folk jam every second Sunday of the month open to the public at the Poggie Tavern in West Seattle.

Pickled Okra is an entirely different category of Bluegrass band. They are a true cross-over, appealing to casual AND true bluegrass fans. Though their definitive sound spans a wide slice of Americana, it could also be described as “old-school, porch-settin’, singin’ into a can-style bluegrass”. Devout practitioners of single mic performance, they never quite fit completely into a ‘generic’ bluegrass groove, they tend to skirt the edges of many different genres, infusing their sound with twinges of funk, reggae, pop and gypsy jazz and regularly offer up “pickled” versions of pop/rock tunes by the likes of Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin and Bob Marley, to name a few. 

Pickled Okra has gained some recognition for charming audiences throughout the Pacific Northwest, and their recordings have attracted the attention of music industry fixtures as far away as The UK. Expect the unexpected from these two creative powerhouses.

High Mountain String Band The High Mountain String Band is a Bellingham based Band that has been playing together for 6 years. They play Traditional and Progressive Bluegrass with some Old Time Tunes and Country Songs mixed in. With Kurt Gisclaire on Lead Vocals and Mandolin, Ian McLelland-Banjo, Andy Bunn Vocals and Guitar, Bryan Thurber-Fiddle, John Daughtrey Vocals and Bass, You’re sure to enjoy some Toe Tapping Bluegrass Music.

Snohomish based, Roosevelt Road, is made up of some mighty fine pickers: Jane McMahon sings lead and harmony vocals and play’s the Banjo, Long neck Banjo, Autoharp and Slack Key Guitar. Steve McMahon is an accomplished Bass player playing upright and harmonica and singing lead and harmony vocals.

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