Over the course of a decade, we’ve watched the Brewgrass Festival in Ashvegas grow from a piddly little beer garden style event down on City-County Plaza to the bustling brew and music scene it is today. It’s always been an uneven festival – it’s location changes, there haven’t been enough vendors, etc. This year was no exception.
First and foremost – not enough potties. There were 4,000 to 4,000 people crammed down on The Block, all drinking beer. You’d think the one think you’d want to be ready for was the resulting waste water.
Nope. There were probably 30 or so port-a-johns (give or take 10) set up. People stood in line at least 30 minutes – usually longer – to take a leak. That led to a mini-revolt, with mostly guys taking advange of a wooded embankment behind the port-a-potties. The cops let it go for awhile, but finally started cracking down by cutting off the wristbands of people who walked out of the bushes zipping their fly.
It’s been 10 years folks. Figure it out. Next year, provide adequate bathroom facilities.
The second issue was the location itself. The Block is a great place to throw a party – the YMI does it every year with Goombay. But Brewgrass is a ticketed event, so organizers crammed everybody way down at the bottom of Market Street and fenced off any area where somebody might slip in. Still, we saw plenty of people coming and going despite the restriction that once you’re in, you can’t leave and come back.
And the limited space meant everybody was crammed up together. We overheard several women complain about feeling claustrophobic, and there was plenty of drunken kocking of elbows and banging into one another. The issue came in especially stark contrast to last year’s Brewgrass, which was spread over the spacious and lovely grassy outfield of McCormick Field.
As for the beer – can’t complain. All the local breweries were represented, as were hot beer makers from here to Colorado. The folks serving up the drink seemed to have plenty of supply on hand. It was all good.
We talked about the brew – how about the bluegrass? Whitewater Bluegrass Co., Robinella, the Greasy Beans, John Cowan, the Gibson Brothers. They were all great. Almost wish they had a second stage set up. No complaints.
So, a bit of a mixed bag, but overall a fun fall festival. See ya next year.
Category: Asheville News