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Hopstring Fest blends beer with local, original music

Published: Sunday, Aug. 24, 2014 10:58 p.m. CDT

Hopstring Fest is just an extension of Mike Trizna’s time spent as a child sitting around the dining room table with his grandfather exchanging vinyl records and conversation.

“I’d bring something my grandpa had never heard and he’d bring something I had never heard and we’d just sit and listen and talk about it,” said Trizna, co-creator of the Hopstring Fest, an all-day music-meets-beer festival that celebrated its third year Saturday. “That’s what got me interested in original music.”

All but one of the 31 bands who hit the stage Saturday at Silver Cross Field in Joliet have local ties and each played original songs, said Trizna, co-owner of Chicago Street Pub, a venue known to cater to original local music instead of cover bands.

Chris Foray of Joliet was among the several local musicians in Saturday’s lineup. Foray, guitarist for The Regressors, said he appreciates the community that Trizna brings to the Joliet music scene.

“Some of our first gigs were at the Chicago Street Pub. Even 12 years ago, when we sucked, they were huge supporters,” Foray said, laughing. “It’s just wonderful to be a part of a family, you know.”

The 12-hour festival – where roots rock meets craft beer – had everything from bluegrass and jazz to rock ’n’ roll and jam bands throughout the day.

Garrett Degnan, bassist for The Leadfoot Band, called the idea behind the festival “fantastic.”

“It’s a great thing, what they’re doing out here,” Degnan said. “It’s great for the local music. There’s an abundance of music around here that is just ripe with really talented musicians and bands.”

The Leadfoot Band’s sound includes progressive bluegrass coupled with roots and rock-influenced acoustics, with influences from Hank Williams, Split Lip and Lou Reed, among others.

“We don’t only have like the traditional bluegrass tunes. We do other tunes,” Degnan said.

Floyd Catchpole of Ingalls Park and his wife, Janine, danced during nearly all of The Leadfoot Band’s 45-minute set. Janine Catchpole said she and her husband really enjoy the band and catch them at local venues whenever they get the chance.

The popular, Midwest-based rocker band, Cracker, closed out the night at the festival’s main stage. The band, which scored a huge hit with its album “Kerosene Hat” in the 1990s, is getting ready to release a new collection of songs, “Sunrise in the Land of Milk and Honey.”

To help out local charities in the area, organizers allowed them to sell tickets for the event and have them keep a portion of their sales. Those that benefited include Big Brothers Big Sisters of Will and Grundy Counties, Guardian Angel, Joliet Area Community Hospice, Miracle League of Joliet, Pink Heals of Joliet and Superior Vision.

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