Drive-By Truckers open Sierra Nevada’s Mills River ampitheater

Drive-By Truckers, from left: Brad Morgan, Patterson Hood, Matt Patton, Mike Cooley, Jay Gonzalez Photo by David McClister

Travelers on Highway 280 past the Asheville Airport have seen signs directing them to Sierra Nevada’s massive brewing complex. A 23-beer taproom and restaurant opened there in March, but alt-country rockers Driver-By Truckers will officially open a 16,000 square-foot beer garden and amphitheater in Mills River with a sold-out show Thursday, Oct. 8.

“We’ve always had a very special relationship with the Asheville area,” says Driver-By Truckers frontman Patterson Hood. “When we were first starting out, we played a tiny venue below a record store and a small room in Black Mountain. We moved to The Orange Peel nearly 15 years ago and have played multiple-night stands there nearly every year. I’m pretty sure we have opened a new venue before, probably several, but our hope is to play the best rock show on Earth each and every night.”

That fact is not lost on Brian Grossman, a second-generation brewer at Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. “We spent a lot of time talking about who we wanted as our opening act,” he says. “We needed an act that fit our culture and felt like Sierra Nevada. It needed to be great original music with a bit of attitude and the ability to create a lot of excitement in our community. Drive-By Truckers satisfied just about every item on our wish list and, lucky for us, they were available and willing. We’re stoked to have them play our inaugural show.”

Photo courtesy of Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
Photo courtesy of Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

The Mills River amphitheater can accommodate at least 700 people and, while tickets for the show sold out soon after it was first announced, it will still hopefully be a night for all visitors to remember.

“For this particular show, we’re just thrilled to finally be able to showcase our venue,” says Grossman. “We’ve been working hard for years and we’re really proud of the final result. The Truckers are about to release a live album later this month, so I’m sure they’re going to come out with a great energy and put on an awesome performance. As for the overall goal of the amphitheater, we’re always looking for ways to celebrate craft. We want to create a top notch experience for the die-hard craft drinker, but also provide an opportunity for the non-craft or new-craft drinker to experiment and broaden their horizons. Our hope is our concert-goers come to the venue for a show and leave with a better understanding and respect for craft beer.”

Hood agrees. “We play amphitheaters frequently and it is usually a lot of fun,” he sys. “It should be especially nice this time of year. Driver-By Truckers very famously love beer.”


Thanks for reading through to the end…

We share your inclination to get the whole story. For the past 25 years, Xpress has been committed to in-depth, balanced reporting about the greater Asheville area. We want everyone to have access to our stories. That’s a big part of why we've never charged for the paper or put up a paywall.

We’re pretty sure that you know journalism faces big challenges these days. Advertising no longer pays the whole cost. Media outlets around the country are asking their readers to chip in. Xpress needs help, too. We hope you’ll consider signing up to be a member of Xpress. For as little as $5 a month — the cost of a craft beer or kombucha — you can help keep local journalism strong. It only takes a moment.

About Jonathan Rich
A veteran freelance writer living in WNC, Jonathan Rich writes about arts and entertainment events for Mountain Xpress and

Before you comment

The comments section is here to provide a platform for civil dialogue on the issues we face together as a local community. Xpress is committed to offering this platform for all voices, but when the tone of the discussion gets nasty or strays off topic, we believe many people choose not to participate. Xpress editors are determined to moderate comments to ensure a constructive interchange is maintained. All comments judged not to be in keeping with the spirit of civil discourse will be removed and repeat violators will be banned. See here for our terms of service. Thank you for being part of this effort to promote respectful discussion.

Leave a Reply

To leave a reply you may Login with your Mountain Xpress account, connect socially or enter your name and e-mail. Your e-mail address will not be published. All fields are required.