CityBeat Festival of Beer: Supporting music education through a love of craft brews
It is both a blessing and curse to be living in a hop-head city like San Diego.
Thanks to an overwhelming number of local breweries around town, there now seems to be a never-ending supply of beer festivals and events.
San Diegans have an unquenchable thirst for alcohol-related celebrations, and when doing a quick google search of “San Diego beer events,” it’s almost baffling to see the long list of trivia nights, festivals, open mics, art nights, beer releases and general meetups surrounding our favorite drink.
It’s a beautiful problem to have, but when trying to select one to be a part of, it’s at times difficult to wade through the long list of hoppy options.
All that said, one recently stood out to us here at The San Diego Chronicle.
This Saturday in front of North Park's historic Lafayette Hotel, the CityBeat Festival of Beer will be celebrating its 11th year.
Beer is of course the focal point of the afternoon, but what truly helped steal our attention is the fact that the festival will be supporting music in local schools through the San Diego Music Foundation.
In a chat earlier this week, we caught up with festival promoter and CityBeat publisher, Kevin Hellman.
“I started SDMF [San Diego Music Foundation] about 15 years ago with several others in the local music community,” said Hellman in an email conversation. “We partnered with Taylor Guitars, and to date, have helped over 55,000 students in San Diego schools, because of our guitar donations.”
According to the SDMF website, the program aims to “enrich San Diego’s diverse and creative music community through music education for youth, professional development for current and emerging industry professionals, live performances for the San Diego public, and recognition for San Diego artists of exceptional merit or service.”
Through their guitars for schools initiative, the SDMF strives to provide early music education for local schools. Keeping in mind that the arts regularly suffer budget costs across schools in the country, and that access to musical instruments can be limited, programs like the SDMF are more important than ever.
Tasting beers while supporting local music education is an easy win-win, especially when you consider the Lafayette Hotel site for the upcoming festival.
“It's a great location, on one of the oldest boulevards in the state,” added Hellman. “El Cajon Blvd never closes...except for this event. And the backdrop of the historic Lafayette hotel makes it even better.”
Looking forward, there’s always room for growth when it comes to anything beer-related, but for Hellman, it was clear that supporting music for local schools is what truly mattered.
“I'd love to see us grow. But as the craft beer industry has flattened out a bit, I think that festivals have also. I'm just happy that we can survive and thrive, and to be able to help kids in public schools learn music. It's a pretty cool thing.”
A pretty cool thing indeed.
If you're looking for unlimited craft beer sampling, and also feel inclined to support an awesome local music program, look no further. The festivities start this Saturday afternoon.
For more information on tickets for the CityBeat Festival of Beer, visit www.citybeatbeerfest.com. Interested in volunteering at the festival? Visit this link. For more information on SDMF, visit www.sandiegomusicfoundation.org. (Article images via Corey Hart)