In the old cowboy stories, there were chuck wagons — mobile kitchens that traveled with the wagon trains or on the trail with ranch workers, circling the wagons at mealtimes to feed everyone in the group. Those days are long gone, but the concept may not be.
Picture, if you will, dozens of trucks equipped with commercial kitchens circled in an isolated field. Now, also picture in that same field a lineup of good bands — perhaps you have some of them in your Spotify playlists — cranking out tunes from high-level speakers on a massive stage. While this might not exactly be the cowboy experience of yore, it might feel like it by your third or fifth hoppy IPA, when you finally make your way back to your tent.
On Saturday, April 16, Oskar Blues Brewery in Brevard will host its inaugural Loaded Up and Truckin’ Food Truck-Off and Aural Pleasure Fest, a publicly judged food truck competition featuring live performances by Shovels & Rope, Futurebirds, Danger Muffin and a slew of other Americana-inspired acts.
There is something of a stereotype among outdoor music festivals wherein a scant selection of overpriced food leaves concert-goers hungry and dissatisfied. But with over 18 food trucks competing at Loaded Up and Truckin’ — including favorites such as Root Down, El Kimchi, Appalachian Smoke, Smash Box Mobile Kitchen and Melt Your Heart — it’s pretty clear that this event will be food-focused, leaving hungry guests with myriad options. And following fresh on the heels of Root Down’s double victory at the recent Asheville Food Truck Showdown, there is sure to be some fierce competition for this title.
Headlining musical act Shovels & Rope is an energetic Americana folk-rock duo out of Charleston that broke into the Top 40 charts with its 2014 album Swimmin’ Time. The drumcentric mult- instrumentalists lean heavily on folk, country, rock and punk influences and have the reputation for bringing a more lively show to the stage than one would expect from the average two-piece.
General admission tickets are $30, and include admission to the concert. All food trucks will have their full menus available for purchase, and Oskar Blues will be selling beer throughout the event. Judges Tasting tickets are $60 and cover admission, a special menu item from each of the participating trucks and a ballot for helping choose the winner of the showdown. Tent camping on the REEB Ranch is available for an extra $15.
Loaded Up and Truckin’ happens Saturday, April 16, at Oskar Blues Brewery’s REEB Ranch, 315 Shoals Falls Road, Hendersonville. Check-in for camping begins at 10 a.m., food truck judging begins at noon and music starts at 1:30 p.m. For more information and to buy tickets, visit Oskar Blues’ Loaded Up and Truckin’ website. For updates, check out the REEB Ranch Facebook page.