Blues Brews and BBQ – Looking forward

beer girlsThis year was not the first time I had attended the Blues, Brews and BBQ event at the Coconut Creek Casino but it really felt like the first because it was such a different experience for me. First off, the main event stage was moved inside to the Pavilion venue inside instead of being held under a tent outside of the casino.  I remember seeing lots of smaller bands in the middle of the casino floor last year with more popular bands on the outdoor stage.  Secondly, I was given a media pass so that I could sample all the beers and food that was available for sale by the various BBQ vendors.

beer samplesNormally, I don’t write post-event reviews but I had so many thoughts running through my mind that I wanted to share it with everyone who attended and those who missed this event. First off, I loved the thought of having unlimited beer samples included with the tickets to this day-long event. I loved the fact that the beer was NOT Bud, Miller, Coors or lite versions of all of the above. Instead, I got to sample beers I have never heard of from all over the world. The tiny little beer mugs given out by beautiful models at the door was a nice touch!

Dave MaloneSince I could not stay all day, I came during dinner time so I could catch two of the acts AND enjoy the barbecue samples at the same time. I am not an expert on the Blues scene but I enjoy the music without being really familiar with the artists. The first act I caught was Bonerama with special guest Dave Malone of The Radiators. Bonerama horn sectionThere’s something special about a horn section that adds flavor to music of any style. Unlike your standard 4-piece rock band, these guys made the most of the large stage and presented themselves in style with every musician profiling his talent gracefully.

Pavilion General and VIP seatingAlthough I loved the stage size, lighting and great sound, my greatest concern was over the standing room only space given to those who paid for general admission tickets. The VIP ticket-holders were given bleacher seats which took up about 50% of the hall. It must have been difficult to calculate in advance how many people would buy the $25 general admission versus the $50 ones but, in hindsight, they will either have to find more room next year, put more seats into the general admission side or people will have to fork over the extra bucks to get a seat, especially if they want to sit through 6 great bands from early afternoon and into the later hours of the evening.

BBQ Barbecue samplesIn between bands was the best time to make my way to the BBQ Alley and see what samples awaited me. Every vendor offered me pretty much whatever I wanted on their menu which usually included BBQ ribs, pulled pork or beef brisket. Since the sample sizes varied from a small cup sample to a full plate with sides, I was too stuffed to taste test every one of the 6 vendors selling sandwiches and platters in the “alley”. My first stop was Lucille’s which I had tried in the past thanks to Lucille’s on Wheels at various food truck events. Their shredded brisket was sweet, juicy and extremely tasty as usual. I would have forgone all other samples to just have a sandwich from their table. Dickey's Brisket PlatterIt was pretty much downhill from there as I sampled Dickey’s BBQ brisket platter. The coleslaw was delicious but unfortunately, the brisket had so many huge pieces of burned gristle that I could have broken my jaw had I really finished what they served me. Lastly, the brisket sandwich from the casino’s kitchen was so fatty that it was hard to believe that they were putting it onto a bun before cutting off the excess fat. I would have gladly cut it off myself rather than waste a good sandwich but without any tables, everyone had to eat standing up and made eating a rack of ribs or cutting through slices of beef brisket next to impossible.

Tab BenoitI was more than happy to wash this all down with more beer samples and the exhilarating, foot stomping sounds of Tab Benoit. Since this was the first year with the configuration of food and entertainment the way I described, I am sure that there will be some tweaks for next year and I just hope that with all my gripes about the food and crowds, they still invite me back!

1 thought on “Blues Brews and BBQ – Looking forward”

  1. COCONUT CREEK, Fla., – The Sixth Annual Blues, Brews and BBQ, held at the Seminole Casino Coconut Creek (SCCC), smashed all previous attendance records, with a sell-out crowd of more than 1,500 last Saturday, April 20. In addition, SCCC announced three days prior to the event that 100% of all ticket sales from April 15th-20th would benefit The One Fund Boston, and the general public responded. Proceeds from ticket sales, plus donations from Seminole Casino Coconut Creek and from festival attendees, came to a grand total of $17,239 that will go directly to victims of the Boston Marathon tragedy.
    “This has been an unbelievable outpouring of generosity,” said Steve Bonner, President of SCCC. “This has always been a popular event, but this year, well, it literally tripled in attendance. We are absolutely thrilled.”

    The event featured live music from Reverand Peyton’s Big Damn Band, Albert Cummings, Bonerama with special guest Dave Malone of the Radiators, Tab Benoit and North Mississippi All-Stars. The tunes jammed from 2 p.m. until 11 p.m. to roaring crowds of blues lovers from around the state.

    More than 100 varieties of premium beer were available for sampling, and all guests received a complimentary mini-mug to take home. Another big hit was the BBQ itself, with six of South Florida’s top BBQ icons participating in a BBQ cookoff, judged by a number of area radio personalities. The 1st Place Winner was Hickory Sticks BBQ, who received an award for $1,000; 2nd Place went to Lucille’s Bad to the Bone BBQ, and 3rd place went to Sparky’s Roadside BBQ. All three winners received trophies to display in their restaurants.

    “This was definitely an evening to remember,” said Bonner. “We already have big plans for next year’s event to be even bigger and better!”

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