The fifth annual Brewgrass festival promises plenty of beer, food and music as seven area craft breweries and two top local bluegrass acts take the stage at Fager’s Island from 1-5 p.m. on Saturday.
Ocean City-based Saltwater Stringband headline the live entertainment bill with Virginia’s Drymill Road. Singer/guitarist Nate Clendenen has performed during the event at the 60th Street venue each year, three times with Saltwater Stringband and last year with impromptu “super group” Brackish Brothers.
“Fager’s came up with the format and the idea for the event,” Clendenen said. “That place is such a great space, you can do so much with it. They came to me and asked about bluegrass and Saltwater just jumped on it.”
Chester River Runoff co-headlined the first three years, with Drymill Road jumping on the bill for the first time last year.
“We’re all part of the same musical community,” Clendenen said. “The first year was a great kickoff and each year gets bigger and better. Last year sold out a week in advance.”
Clendenen estimated more than 400 people attended last year’s event, thanks in part to the mass appeal of the three main components.
“The three of those factors, beer, barbecue and bluegrass, they’re all intuitively linked,” he said. “Even if you don’t drink beer, go eat some barbecue and listen to some bluegrass. If you’re not so much into bluegrass you can come and drink beer and eat barbecue. If you’re not into barbecue there’s tons of beer and bluegrass. It all works together really well.”
Expect both bands to debut new material, with Drymill Road touring behind their new album “Give and Take” and Saltwater Stringband welcoming new fiddle player Lucy Cockran into the fold.
Cochran won her division of the Berlin Fiddler’s Convention in 2014.
“There’s nothing in this life better than good music,” Clendenen said. “Just as long as everybody has a good time that’s all that matters to me, but it will be pretty impossible to not have a good time.”
Evolution Craft Brewing Co., Burley Oak Brewing Company, Dogfish Head Craft Brewed Ales, Union Craft Brewing, Heavy Seas Beer, Flying Dog Brewery and The Brewer’s Art will pour unlimited craft beer tastings for $40. All-you-can-eat southern-style barbecue and a complimentary pint glass are included in the ticket price.
For more information, call Fager’s Island at 410-524-5500 or visit www.fagers.com.