Hopfest to liven up Greensboro this weekend

by Rebecca Harrelson

Hopfest in the Boro is this Saturday.

“Greensboro is boring.” “There is nothing to do here.” “It’s Greensboro what do you expect?” Those sayings are not going to be able to fly around here for much longer. If you find yourself making those comments you must not be walking out your front door. You must not be meeting the right people. You must need some help becoming better connected. There is a grassroots movement happening here in Greensboro, with conversations being had in corners of collaborative spaces and coffee shops, over beers in better bars than collegiate hangouts. Two names you should know: Ryan Saunders and Shamira Azlan. Why know them? They are the ones bringing Hopfest to life. What is Hopfest? It’s a community beer and music festival happening this Saturday, August 22. Saunders recently shared his views on how minds need to start changing. “You have to change the attitude of the people who are currently here, or change the environment they don’t like,” Saunders said. “Until Greensboro pays attention to the people, it doesn’t matter what you build or what you do, how many apartments you construct, if they aren’t affordable for college graduates, this city will become stagnant.” We’ve all been out at a bar before listening to local musicians talking (complaining) about the social scene here in Greensboro. They are talking about the disconnect between the spaces that musicians hold and the crowds of people lacking in and around those spaces. How Greensboro is packed with talent, and great spaces for music, but where are the people? Hopfest is a grassroots festival put on by Create Your City, an organization created by Ryan Saunders with help from close allies, much like Shamira Azlan. This is the third Hopfest, and last year around 4,000 people came out for beer, music and food trucks. General admission is from 5pm to 11pm and the space is the unveiling of Limelight Outdoors. Azlan and Saunders have received donations, sponsorships and support from all over the Triad area. Landscapers are contributing plants, sod and mulch, there will be picnic tables, a stage and vendors. “We’ve handpicked our vendors trying to select those who are working to build the Greensboro our community wants,” Saunders said.For the past six months there have been long nights, phones calls, and emails sent. So much time and effort has gone into recruiting volunteers, bringing in local musicians, donations and making sure everything looks great. Saunders consistently stretches the notion of what it means to believe in your city, in your dreams and in your friends. Performers for Hopfest include: Snare Blankets and Dark Love, Grand Ole Uproar, Josh King, The Ends, Empire Strikes Brass, GamerGad and Elusive Groove.Musician GamerGad said he is excited to be a part of Hopfest. “This is my first time performing at Hopfest but hopefully the first of many. I’m looking forward to engaging with the crowd and checking out some of the beers available,” he said. “I’ve never been to a beer festival so it’s going to be exciting experiencing something new. I see a direct correlation between beer and music. It’s been a blast working with Create Your City. After finding out about the festival I knew I wanted to be a part of it. I pride myself in creating music that’s relatable but also move worthy. I can’t wait to get on stage and have some fun this Saturday.” Hopfest will take place from 5-11 p.m. on Saturday at 102 Davie St. in Greensboro. Purchase tix here.