Since he began performing in the early 2000s, Zac Brown has found commercial success through his innovative endeavors combining food and music. Behind the leadership of executive chef Rusty Hamlin, Zac Brown Band has been able to implement its own Southern Ground brand of cooking accessories, exclusive “Eat and Greet” opportunities for fans, and for the past two years, the group has headlined its own Southern Ground Music and Food Festival, a unique culinary experience now preparing for its third year.
In 2011, the first annual Southern Ground Music and Food Festival landed in Charleston, S.C., featuring a sensory combination of eclectic musicians like My Morning Jacket and Fitz and the Tantrums along with several gourmet food offerings from nationally renowned executive chefs. The festival also featured offerings from “Cookie,” the touring mobile kitchen that Brown and Chef Hamlin employ for the famed Eat and Greets at the band’s shows. Find more details on Cookie—and the rest of Zac Brown’s culinary history—on Vivid Seats’ infographic below.
Last year, the Southern Ground Festival expanded to include Nashville, Tenn., which will return as a host city in 2013. In Nashville, the festival from Sept. 27-28 will offer headlining sets from Zac Brown Band and special guests Kenny Chesney and Jason Mraz on Friday, and John Fogerty on Saturday. Friday will also feature sets from Grace Potter and the Nocturnals and Eli Young Band, among others, while Saturday boasts Willie Nelson, Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, and The Head and the Heart.
The full Nashville food lineup will include dishes from both Brown and Hamlin, as well as Bravo’s “Top Chef” winner Stephanie Izard, Chicago seafood chef Giuseppe Tentori, and Amangiri executive chef Shon Foster. Jambalaya, oyster po’ boy sliders, and gourmet bacon and chocolate s’mores will be available on the menu for guests in attendance. Chicago-based beer sommelier, Gary Valentine, also will be involved with both festival locations as he works to pair craft beers with the culinary offerings provided by each participating chef. Nashville will also offer an interactive mobile Jack Daniel’s whiskey museum and a CAO Cigar Lounge for attendees of age.
Southern Ground Music and Food Festival Charleston—scheduled for Oct. 19-20—also will feature the creations of four-star chefs: RJ Cooper, Craig Deihl, Kelly Liken, and pastry chef Claire Chapman. On the music front, Zac Brown Band will be back to headline both nights, with special guest Clare Bowen on Saturday, and Kenny Rogers on Sunday. Additional acts scheduled for Saturday include Natalie Maines and Fitz and the Tantrums, while fans on Sunday will see Willie Nelson and Band of Horses take the stage, among others. More details for the Charleston festival are still expected to be announced in the coming weeks.