Festival Recap | Springs Beer Fest 2014
A sold out beer fest is a good thing for craft beer, right?! Well, we aren’t 100% sure but we take a closer look with Springs Beer Fest 2014.
This past weekend, we were thrust into a myriad of emotions in relation to a sold out festival at the 8th Annual Springs Beer Fest at America the Beautiful Park in Colorado Springs. The festival ran from 12:00pm to 4:00pm (11am entry for VIP) with a cost of $25 for General (advance), $30 at Gate, $50 VIP. The promoters promised a fun-filled day of bottomless, fresh, craft beer samplings from over 45 notable Craft Brewers.
We joined 4,000 other beer enthusiasts for an afternoon of live music, local vendors, games and local fare from food trucks and area restaurants (CB Potts, Rock Bottom and Old Chicago). Ticket sales included a souvenir taster mug (plastic) and bottomless beer samplings. Well, mostly bottomless. At Springs Beer Fest, a lot of breweries moved that beer though. Which is great exposure for them and running out is always a good sign that supply could not keep up with demand.
With 4,000 plus patrons, we waited in a LOT of lines. To say the event was oversold would be an understatement. With a whopping 12 portapotties at Springs Beer Fest, it was great that I didn’t need to break the seal right away. BTW, my wife reported that this was a wives tale and that ‘breaking the seal’ was not a thing. To her chagrin, I didn’t have to wait in the hellish line that formed around 12:45pm and lasted through 3:45pm. I held that shit until after the festival. Lucky me. A lot of other folks had to make that treacherous trek through the porta-line. My condolences to you, and your palates. And to my bearded brethren that got turned away because the festival was sold out, your scooter with sidecar was still amazing. Cheers, brothers!
While folks waited in line at the pisser, everyone else waited in line at each beer station and at the TWO food trucks. TWO. Four thousand people. TWO food trucks. So, we said screw food. Onto the brews.
Sure, I will wait in line for beer at a beer festival. ”Oh, you’re pouring your flagship? Cool. That’s awesome; I love beer. “ But my sentiment was not shared by all, though. So, as to continue my support of all things craft beer, I just want to say that ‘I get it.’ These breweries are pouring at a summer festival in a smaller beer city. But, but . . . There are going to be long lines. There are 4,000 people here. And Firestone couldn’t bring Parabola. And Oskar Blues isn’t pouring Ten Fidy because that would be too heavy for a 90 degree day in the sun. In short, people became impatient too quickly. I feel like because this wasn’t your every day craft beer crowd, that a lot of folks became enraged shortly after getting into the festival. A lot of folks left. Sadly, they missed out but opened things up for everyone else.
So, warm weather, too many people, too few beers, two few food options, too many lines, too few bathroom facilities. Sure, I can rip apart this festival like punching through a wet paper bag but what is the point?! The promoters know the implications of a festival not going well. So, I am not here to highlight the negative. I would just like to provide constructive feedback and encourage promoters to take care of the shortfalls in the future by maybe not selling to the Groupon market, not selling as many tickets when the facilities could not accommodate the crowds and to increase the amount of access to the amenities that you are providing, ie: food trucks, bathrooms, etc.
So, what went well at the Springs Beer Fest? So much! So much so that I will just show you the pictures and highlight where necessary. Again, I feel as though this festival was a growing pain for Springs Beer Fest and that next year, they will be ready to accommodate a smaller crowd more adequately. And with Craft Lager Festival coming back, maybe there won’t be such a void in the C Spgs beer festival circuit that we are turning folks away from festivals. Because at the end of the day, we all just want to relax with our friends and have a beer about it in the sun. Cheers Springs Beer Fest, we’ll be back next year in support!
Oh yeah, one last quick highlight, we ran into this bloke at the end of the day at the Santa Fe tent and he was all like, “I have been walking lopsided for over 45 minutes!” And when he lifts up his foot . . . Boom!!!! It’s because homeboy was walking on a soggy smushed up pretzel piece on his bare foot (I wouldn’t be rocking bare feets at a fest like this but good on this dude for having the balls to do it). Poor dude. He, like so many other folks, were just weathering the storm and making the best out of the festival. You got to appreciate that! Also, quick shoutout to my homies Chris at Bristol Brewing Company for pouring the shit out of the Wit and RyePA and Robert at Upadowna for all of your work with the event (Upadowna helped concierge a bike valet for safe transportation post-fest and made fucktons of pretzel necklaces). Cheers!