Rock The Hops 2016 is a celebration of music, art and craft beer taking over downtown Alton from 2 p.m. to 8 p.m. Aug. 20. We’ve organized 30 bands, 30 arts and crafts vendors, and 15 breweries to complement each other across 6 venues in a timespan of 6 hours. For my wife, Hope, and me, this is a labor of love to bring together our artistic passion and our talented friends and acquaintances for one amazing party in the city we’re proud to call home.
Hope and I have a vested interest in helping the Alton community thrive. In 2014, we were starting the process of looking for a new town to call home. We thought that we’d run out of options for what we wanted out of a town and a community in Alton, so it seemed like it was time to move on. Then we found out Hope was pregnant and decided to stay here close to the family and friends that have proven irreplaceable in terms of help and support.
But we knew that even though we were settling down, there was no way we could settle for less than the community we were hoping to find. As we began to shift our focus from finding that community somewhere else to creating that culture here, we discovered that our vision wasn’t so uncommon in Alton after all. There is a common hope for renewal of the arts and grassroots entrepreneurialism, and there are so many more people already at work than we realized. Throughout the process of community impact efforts, we’ve also met and developed meaningful friendships with a whole new crop of people in the area, people who also enjoy thinking outside the box and making a positive impact on the lives of others. We would love it if Rock The Hops could become a platform for the whole community to meet some of these amazing folks.
Rock The Hops was born last year, and like a newborn baby discovering the world, it was adorable, full of potential, and a little overwhelmed by all the attention. Rock The Hops picked up where Alton Main Street’s Big Gig Local Music Show left off and saw unprecedented interest and attendance.
This year, we’re building on the success of last year to take Rock The Hops to the next level. We have acquired more beer and more shuttle service. The check-in station will be a neutral location (Alton Regional CVB) so as to avoid a mad rush to the first beer sampling station at a participating venue. The lineup of bands, artists and artisans is going to be truly amazing.
While Rock The Hops itself is a pretty gargantuan task to complete, it really is only a small drop in the bucket of the bigger picture. Our intention to donate a portion of the proceeds to revitalization efforts at all-but-forgotten Northside Park is also just a peek at what’s to come. Bringing back neighborhoods and a true sense of community in Alton is the bigger picture, and again we find ourselves in new territory. We believe that neighborhoods are the backbone of the city, and every neighborhood should have a viable gathering place. And we believe that the artists, musicians, artisans, entrepreneurs and everyone else tapped into the creative culture in Alton can have a hand in creating together the community we almost left home to find. We hope you’ll join us at Rock The Hops on the 20th to celebrate our community and dream about what we might create together in the years to come. Cheers!
Buy tickets online at rockthehops2016.brownpapertickets.com and join the Rock The Hops 2016 Facebook event for updates and additional information. If you’re interested in contributing to the revitalization efforts of Northside Park, please contact Hope and I at firstname.lastname@example.org.