The line up was a who’s who of Punk and Hardcore legends playing back to back for approximately 6 hours after a four hour complimentary craft beer tasting. The acts broke down like this: H2O, L7, Suicidal Tendencies, The Mighty Mighty Bosstones, and Rancid.
3 hours of suds tasting with over 100 craft beers was offered to the 21+ mere mortals but if you had enough dough to buy VIP you got in an hour earlier. Small Festival taster glasses were handed out from the second you walked through the door with plenty of tickets to cash in for craft beer tastings in the amount of “get you perfectly tuned up to jump in the pit” at your own discretion.
The Festival in its maiden voyage had its shit straight. Rocky goes to a lot of Festivals and The Bash had it right.
The layout was conducive to fast service for booze and food and plenty of room from the stage to the craft beer area. Other brands such as Seagrams were offering free swag and tasting with games to be played. The vibe was open, chill as a punk show could be and anticipatory.
Every punk worth their salt in Phoenix was there. I talked to a few guys from Utah and many other people from different states that had driven to see the show. Rancid headlined but there were just as many ska kids there to skank to the Bosstones as there were to hang on the corner of 52nd and Broadway.
I had never seen Suicidal Tendencies but their pit was the most intense. At one point the lead singer divided the circle pit to two sides looking like something out of a hot topic dosed Braveheart scene and the two mobs ran together to collide full speed to end up moshing into the beautiful sweaty madness of the original circle pit once again.
The rules are simple. Acceptance of all, but tow a hard line of DIY anti authority self governance with no bullshit allowed. In a weird way the craft beer community adheres to these same qualities.
It is beyond heartening to see all ages embracing the ethos that defined soo many creatives thinkers, artists and makers and The Underground being celebrated across six cities with the music that defined and continues to define a scene.
We look forward whatever the producers of the Brew Ha Ha Craft Beer Festival and the Orange County Music Festival producers SGE pull out of their hats next.