IF YOU GO
What: 18th annual Southern Brewers Festival.
When: 2 p.m.-midnight Saturday.
Where: Ross's Landing, 100 Riverfront Parkway.
Admission: $20 in advance, $25 at the gate, includes a commemorative 14-ounce mug and one beer token; additional tokens $3.
Thousands of charitably minded craft-beer aficionados and music lovers will crowd Ross's Landing on Saturday to celebrate the 18th annual Southern Brewers Festival.
Seven food vendors will be on-site alongside a record 38 breweries -- including 10 newcomers from as far away as Minneapolis and San Diego. Lovers of suds will be able to choose from at least 400 kegs containing 78 varieties.
"We have worked hard to bring in some new names in hopes of attracting new favorites for our guests attending the festival," said Kelly Wilson, director of marketing for CraftWorks Restaurants & Breweries, which operates Big River Grille & Brewing Works, host of the event.
Southern Brewers Festival has become a marquee event on the late-summer calendar as much for the music as the beer.
Past headliners include Railroad Earth, Trombone Shorty and Beth Hart. This year's schedule covers a range of genres with national touring artists The Black Lillies, Toubab Krewe, Chuck Leavell, Perpetual Groove and Drive-By Truckers.
The festival generally attracts 12,000-15,000 attendees, and all proceeds will benefit Chattanooga's Kids on the Block, with whom the festival has partnered for the last seven years. (See a related story on Page E1.) In all, Southern Brewers Festival has raised more than $750,000, Wilson said.
"It's easy to give back to a charity when you're having fun," she said. "We ... are close to the million-dollar mark; it's pretty phenomenal."
Last year, the festival raised $150,000 for Kids on the Block, which represented the single-largest donation the puppet-based children's educational outreach organization had ever received.
Kids on the Block executive director Kelly Williams said people's enjoyment of the festival last year had a long-lasting effect on the children within her 14-county service area.
"That year, we performed 423 programs for children and community events," she said. "We were able to serve 64,000 children and adults in our community.
"That's just huge for us, and we wouldn't have been able to do that free of charge to the schools in our area without this contribution."
Wilson said the anticipated attendance this year may set records due to the draw of the musical lineup. If true, Williams said, she is hopeful this year's contributions will raise the bar even more.
"We're hoping that we'll exceed that this year and be able to provide more programs," she said.
2:30 p.m. The Black Lillies -- Knoxville-based Americana band is centered on the whiskey-soaked vocals of Cruz Contreras, formerly of Robinella and The CC String Band.
4:30 p.m. Toubab Krewe -- Asheville, N.C.-based instrumental band fuses the music of Mali, including native Malian instruments, with Southern American styles.
6:30 p.m. Chuck Leavell with the Randall Bramblett Band -- Leavell, right, is an American pianist who formerly performed with The Allman Brothers Band as well as Eric Clapton, George Harrison and The Rolling Stones. Bramblett is a soul singer/song-writer from South Georgia.
8:30 p.m. Perpetual Groove -- The jam band founded in Savannah, Ga., and now based in Athens, Ga., fuses elements of Southern rock, funk and other styles with improvisation.
10 p.m. Drive-By Truckers -- This alt-country and Southern rock ensemble from Athens, Ga., was founded by Patterson Hood and Mike Cooley in 1996.
This year's festival will feature offerings from 38 breweries, 10 of which are newcomers:
• Alltech's Lexington Brewing Co. (Lexington, Ky.)
• Carolina Brewing Co. (Holly Springs, N.C.)
• Green Flashing Brewing Co. (San Diego)
• Jackalope Brewery (Nashville)
• Lagunitas Brewing Co. (Petaluma, Calif.)
• McHale's Brewhouse (Chattanooga)
• O'Fallon Brewery (O'Fallon, Mo.)
• Stone Brewing Co. (Escondido, Calif.)
• Straight to Ale (Huntsville, Ala.)
• Crispin Hard Cider Co. (Minneapolis)
Casey Phillips has worked as a features reporter in the Life department since May 2007. He writes about entertainment, consumer technology, animals and news of the weird. Casey hails from Knoxville and earned a bachelor of science degree in journalism and a bachelor of arts in German from Middle Tennessee State University, where he worked as the features editor for the student newspaper, Sidelines. Casey's writing has earned numerous accolades, including first and second place ...