What do you get when you combine great music, delicious beer, and a beautiful setting? The Brewery Ommegang’s Summer Concert series. This year’s summer concerts at Ommegang kicked off with a Memorial Day celebration that allowed Sunday night camping and a bluegrass/Americana lineup headlined by Old Crow Medicine Show.
Local bluegrass band Driftwood started things off. With great harmonies and well-written numbers, they greeted fans streaming in and finding spots in the open field. The sea of lawn chairs and blankets, along with tents set up in the back could only be appreciated from an aerial view. Fortunately, I was able to connect with Andy Trench from ZoomVideo.net and we went to get a helicamera setup, or, more appropriately, hell-of-a-camera setup. Flying it above the crowd, we were able to provide a birds-eye view of the crowd, the stage, the brewery and the beautiful Cooperstown area.
After Driftwood was Chuck Mead and his Grassy Knoll Boys from Nashville. They were a little more traditional country than bluegrass or Americana, but as I spoke to one of their members after their set, we agreed that it was a good fit. Many shows mix similar genres to offer a little variety and draw from different groups of music lovers. The crowd was pretty much settled in at this point and enjoyed the steel guitar, upright bass and fun lyrics of the band. The highlight was a modern telling of the ongoings of the gang from Mayberry.
As the sun set over the surrounding hills, beer-lovers had a chance to get refills of their favorite Ommegang brew, sweatshirts and coats got thrown on, and a last trip to the vendors for nachos or a burger and prepare for the seven-piece stylings of Old Crow Medicine Show. Starting out with “Carry Me Back” and “Alabama High Test” and moving onto “Take ’em Away”, the pace was fast and the bluegrass-induced Americana jams led to dancing, hula hooping and a whole lot of singing.
If I asked concert goers before the show what were they coming to see, they would have said “Wagon Wheel”. While that song rocketed OCMS to fame, their repertoire of upbeat songs led most to understand that this is not a one-hit wonder, but rather a group that have been around for fifteen years and have compiled a music library of incredible songs that can lend themselves to a two hour set that no one gets bored with, begging for that one song everyone knows.
What’s coming up at Ommegang this summer? Grace Potter and the Nocturnals will be there July 25th and Black Crowes on September 5th. Whether you come for the music, the beer or the atmosphere, you can’t go wrong with planning a trip to Ommegang this summer.