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BEER, REGGAE AND NEIGHBORHOOD VIBES

by Britt Chester

| editor@yesweekly.com | @awfullybrittish

Downtown Greensboro seems to have received a shot of creative Cortisone lately with the influx of events. Part of that boost can be attributed to recent craft breweries opening up, and the other part is the increasing demand that residents have placed on consuming live music. These two ideas “” craft beer and music “” are coming together to help each other out with Create Your City’s upcoming event on Friday night at the McGee Street Boiler Room. “Over the last couple years, we’ve done a few events around the city,” said Ryan Saunders, founder of Create Your City, “and people have been talking to me about doing something with some reggae bands, which is how we landed Sun Dried Vibes and Treehouse.”

In choosing Sun Dried Vibes and Treehouse, two reggae acts from different parts of South Carolina, Saunders hopes to propel the reggae music scene in Greensboro. Sun Dried Vibes, a trio hailing from Rock Hill, was also recently nominated for South Carolina’s 2014 Rock Band of the Year award, as well as receiving positive critical acclaim in Charlotte. Treehouse is a trio based out of Myrtle Beach and is currently touring the East Coast. They are also scheduled to play at Natty Greene’s Pub on Oct. 24. Create Your City is Saunders’ umbrella company that is responsible for multiple events around the Triad. Recently, CYC presented the HopFest live music and arts event in downtown Greensboro, which drew more than 2,500 people.

For the upcoming event at Boiler Room, Saunders tapped some other local businesses to help him put on the event. “When Beer Company opened downtown I went in and met with (Josh Coe), and we just became friends,” Saunders said. Coe works in the family owned storefront that offers craft beer for sale, as well as a tasting bar with special libations on tap.

Beer Company will be hosting a pre-party for the event starting at 6:30 p.m. Coe has tapped Pig Pounder, one of the latest microbreweries to find a home in Greensboro, to offer a keg of its latest stout concoction. Saunders wanted to incorporate Coe because he is interested in hosting an event on McGee Street next year similar to other events he has hosted around the Triad. Incorporating several local businesses on the same block is what Saunders thinks is a great way to get that ball rolling. “My whole mission is to bring a lot of these neighborhoods together with music and arts,” Saunders added.

He believes that neighborhoods around Greensboro have a big advantage because they are so tight-knit, but also sees that people can get rather isolated within the confines of their locations. “If you go to Walker/Elam, or Battleground, or Spring Garden “¦ it’s the same groups, and it’s like people don’t venture past their comfort zone,” he said.

Events like the one at Boiler Room are Saunders’ way of bringing them all together.

Festivals and events seem to be growing in recent years, perhaps due to the overhead cost that is offset by providing space for vendors to offer goods and services.

It’s a similar, or even parallel business model that occurred with the rising popularity of food trucks and events that cater to the mobile restaurants. It brings the product straight to the customer and often at a discounted price. Art vendors who often lack the capital for an advertising budget can operate with booths and tents at a lesser cost while still building a client base through word of mouth.

Such will not be the case on McGee Street, yet, but Create Your City and Beer Company are certainly keeping their eyes on the future by laying the groundwork now.

By bringing free live music to Greensboro bars and coupling it with unofficial partnerships with local businesses, Saunders is pushing the agenda that Greensboro is becoming one of the more competitive markets for music and arts. Watch out Winston-Salem. !

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