Photo by Myra Hughey
Rock the Hops organizers and musicians Hope and Drew Mader at Old Bakery Beer Company, one of the participating venues.
ALTON — Two area musicians are brewing up something new for this year’s Alton Main Street fundraiser, Rock the Hops.
Hope and Drew Mader of Alton, husband-and-wife members of local band Hope and Therapy, will bring a multi-location beer-tasting event to downtown Alton from 2 p.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 15, across seven venues:
Old Bakery Beer Company, Elijah P’s, Big Muddy Pub, 300 State, Chez Marilyn’s, Bluff City Grill and Morrison’s Irish Pub.
The Maders said Sara McGibany of Alton Main Street initially approached them about revamping the music festival, but they had been coming up with ideas on their own long before that.
“I had been talking to Hope about potentially producing an indoor multi-venue festival-style event, which aligned with an idea that Hope has been brewing up for a few years to highlight an emerging craft beer market here in Alton,” Drew said.
“With paid admission, patrons receive a commemorative glass with which they’ll be able to taste a variety of beers from some of the area’s best craft breweries,” Hope explained. “Old Bakery Beer is producing a new beer that will be specially released on the day of the event.”
Other local breweries involved in the event are Templar Brewing Company, Ridgebrook Brewery, Edwardsville’s Recess and regional favorites like St. Louis’ Urban Chestnut and 4 Hands, among others.
Patrons can travel from venue to venue on shuttles, and at each location, bands will play and artists will display their work. Not unlike the beer offerings, the musical offerings are varied and eclectic, local and regional, and include something for everyone, ranging from bluegrass to hardcore to electronic music and more.
Alton native Doug Raffety of Judge Nothing, rock band River City Sound and the Maders’ own band, Hope and Therapy, are among the many local acts that will play; a number of popular St. Louis acts are also on the lineup, including Bruiser Queen and CaveofswordS.
“As for the ever-popular folk/singer-songwriter category, we’ve got Matt Taul, Green & Blue, and Hideous Gentlemen, just to name a few,” Drew added.
But that’s just a small sample of the huge variety of musical genres and acts playing the seven venues that day.
“Make the rounds and spend some time at all the venues throughout the day,” Hope said of the day’s musical offerings. “With so many great bands playing it really should be hard to choose — not a terrible problem to have, of course. Maybe you’ll wind up finding your new favorite band!”
She mentioned that the artists are an eclectic mix, too, and encourages patrons to check out the artist booths at each venue.
“This is a great opportunity to shop local,” she said.
Proceeds benefit Alton Main Street, an organization that recently was saved from near-elimination because of funding cuts.
“Alton Main Street’s mission aligns with our goals for the business and entertainment landscape here in town, so it makes sense to produce this event through and for the benefit of the organization,” Drew said. “Hopefully people will remember what a great time they had in Downtown Alton, and they’ll tell their friends and make it a point to come back more often.”
The Maders regularly post updates on a Rock the Hops Facebook page at www.facebook.com/RockTheHops. They also created a Facebook event page, which provides more detailed information, including the names of more than 25 bands involved. Anyone interested in volunteering for the event may do so on Facebook or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Advance tickets for $18 can be purchased at the Alton Main Street website (www.altonmainstreet.org/page/rock-the-hops), and tickets will also be available for $20 at Elijah P’s from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. on the day of the event.