Zac Brown Stands His 'Ground' on Putting Fans First
Zac Brown Band
concerts have always been about more than just great live music.
Frontman Zac is as talented behind a stove as he is behind a microphone
and combines his two loves with 'Eat and Greets,' serving lucky fans
with huge buffets of scrumptious southern fare, most of which are his
own recipes, before every show.
Making their famous Eat and Greets even meatier, the reigning CMA New Artist of the Year has teamed up with Landshark and Jack Daniel's to take their pre-concert tradition to a whole new level. This weekend, Oct. 21 - 23, they're hosting the Southern Ground Music & Food Festival in Charleston, S.C., boasting a diverse lineup of talent both on the stage and in the kitchen. In addition to performances by more than 30 acts from the country, rock, pop and bluegrass worlds, the three-day event also features cuisine by James Beard Foundation award winning chefs. (For you non-foodies, that's like winning a Grammy for your cooking.)
The Boot talked to Zac about how he personally designed the entire event. We also got the sweet story behind the band's latest single and video, along with some inside scoop on the next ZBB album. And turning to his other job as a music mogul, we pick the Georgia native's brain on the must-have criteria for those joining him on his latest musical venture, a new record label.
How did you come up with the concept for the Southern Ground Music & Food Festival?
As a fan, my dream would be to be right up there on stage with an act ... Someone would bring me a four course meal with some really good Napa wine and beer, and I'd be able to watch the show from right there. We created that with these front porch stage boxes; it's been an idea I've had for a number of years. We had them all fabricated and specially made -- it's really the first major unveiling of these things. Aside from that, we've got some James Beard award-winning chefs cooking with Chef Rusty to provide concessions. It's a full-sensory experience, not just the amazing bands and music. It's a foodie festival, as well. Gourmet food. I have a chance to show our fans the level of hospitality that we want to give them, to show them we pay attention to those kind of details.
Any recipe on the menu that you're particularly excited about?
We have a rub that I created back when I had my restaurant. It's a really thin, fresh-sliced filet. We got whole-beef tenderloins. We don't cut corners with our food, we trim those up daily and grill them in a special grill that has a fan in it that helps get [the meat] up to 700 or 800 degrees. Little things like that. You have to caramelize the outside of the food to get it to the next level. But the beef filet, pork tenderloin -- the brown sauce on the top of it -- I've been working on it for a long time. There's going to be all kinds of creations between all the chefs who are coming. It's like a big 'Iron Chef' festival
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