Southern Brewers Festival, 2014

Tuesday, August 26, 2014 - by Fil Manley

The Southern Brewers Festival in Chattanooga isn’t just any festival.  It’s not huge, with attendance just over 15,000, but with a strong focus on microbreweries, it attracts connoisseurs for two days of sampling some of the country's best small batch beers.

This year over 50 microbreweries brought over 100 premium ales and lagers.  

Founded in 1994 and sponsored by Big River Grille and Brewing Works, the Southern Brewers Festival raises money for local charities with this year's proceeds going to Chattanooga Kids on the Block and the Chattanooga Community Kitchen

One of the nice things about this festival is the blend of good beer and good music.
  The lineup this year was well thought out, with a blend of bluegrass and jam music complementing each other nicely.

Attendance seemed strong this year, despite a stifling heat-wave and heat indexes at 100.  Even so, the hula-hoopers were out in force, as were the drinkers and dancers, grooving to bands like Soulive, Moe, Greensky Bluegrass and Gov’t Mule.

Someone came up with the best idea ever, which was to park a 77-foot yacht directly behind the stage.  The Blue Moon (Yacht) normally runs paid cruises and private events on the Tennessee River, but during the festival, it served as green room, watering hole, viewing perch and rest area for artists.  

The upper deck was the perfect place to view the band from (even though it was from behind) and I ran into Jeff Styles there during Gov’t Mule, smiling incessantly with a Go-Pro strapped to his wrist.

If you love festivals like I do, you go to a lot of them, and after 10 or 20 or a hundred, you get used to it.  It’s hard not to get jaded, especially with Riverbend right here in Chattanooga, and Bonnaroo 45 minutes to the west.

This little festival though reeks of Chattanooga in a good way.  I’ve lived in Chattanooga for 20 years, and I’ve seen so many changes.  As I listened to Gov’t Mule play what was a fantastic set from the upper deck of the Blue Moon, I couldn’t help but ponder how lucky (and surreal) I felt to be on a beautiful boat, 10 feet behind a stage, drinking beer for charity and listening to fantastic music.  It somehow seemed like a very Chattanooga thing to do.

On a more somber note, I would like to note the passing of long time Gov’t Mule crew member Brian Farmer.  Farmer was a well-known and loved guitar tech and luthier who started working with Warren Haynes and the Allman Brothers Band in 2001.  A native Tennessean, in his earlier life Farmer attended Luthier school, worked in repair shops and music stores, and got his big break when he was hired as Johnny Cash's guitar man.

Farmer worked hundreds of shows all over the world but had his last gig here in Chattanooga, Tennessee.  He passed away at his home outside of Nashville this past Sunday.

Happy Trails from Chattanooga, Brian.  Say hello to Duane.

~Fil Manley
filmanley@gmail.com






Lera Lynn Performs At The Camp House

Last week, Chattanooga’s Gig City Productions presented singer-songwriter Lera Lynn, born in Texas, raised in Georgia, and now based in Nashville, who self-released her sophomore album, The Avenues (out now), which continues to receive praise and critical acclaim from many sources. Lera Lynn is a songwriter, who co-wrote and performs the song “The Only Thing Worth Fighting ... (click for more)

Chattanooga Sings For Hope Memorial Concert And Tribute Is Aug. 8

The Chattanooga Sings For Hope memorial concert and tribute to first responders will be held on Saturday, Aug. 8, from 4-7 p.m.  This memorial concert is designed to pay tribute to the military personnel who lost their lives on July 16 and honor first responders at every level. Multiple agencies from Tennessee, Georgia, and Alabama will participate in a motorcade ... (click for more)

Ruling States That City Of Cleveland Is Entitled To Liquor By The Drink Funds

The city of Cleveland is entitled to keep all funds collected since city voters approved “liquor by the drink” in the Nov. 5, 2002 election. Bradley County Schools sued the city for taxes owed based on the school board’s interpretation of state law. Cleveland City Schools will be allowed to keep its money. The city of Cleveland distributed the liquor by the drink tax to Cleveland ... (click for more)

Crash On Chattanooga Avenue Causes Power Outage

A single-car accident in Dalton damaged a power pole on Chattanooga Avenue in front of the Crown Mill Village apartments and has caused a power outage in the area.   Chattanooga Avenue was closed between Matilda Street and Judson Street while the Dalton Police Department investigated the crash and Dalton Utilities worked to replace the pole. The road was reopened later.  ... (click for more)

Chattanooga's Memorial Day - And Response

It is recorded in the Fourth Chapter of the Book of Joshua, that after the nation had crossed the River Jordan, Joshua would receive a divine commandment to choose 12 men from among the people and tell them to take 12 stones from the middle of the river.  Each man placed a stone on their shoulder which represented one of the tribes of Israel, and served as a memorial ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: They Still Love The ‘Lickers’

When Congressman Ted Yoho (R-Fl.) introduced the 2015 version of the “Prevent All Soring Tactics” in Congress this week, he already had a bipartisan crowd of 50 Republicans and 50 Democrats as co-sponsors. That’s hardly amazing. Today there are over 280 organizations, associations, veterinary and animal advocates who vehemently support the legislation, because it is well documented, ... (click for more)