Friday, August 26, 2011

Feeding at LouFest and Five Other Music Festivals

Posted By on Fri, Aug 26, 2011 at 11:00 AM

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Music fans have progressed a lot from the days of selling sandwiches in the parking lot to get from one Grateful Dead show to the next. This weekend's LouFest promises not only two days of great live music, but also some great food: Atomic Cowboy, Buck's Good Eats, Cha Cha Chow, El Borracho, Entre, Farm Fresh Cupcakes, Holy Crepe!, Hwy. 61 Roadhouse and Kitchen, Little Jimmy's Italian Ice, Mangia Mobile, Nora's, Pappy's Smokehouse, Pi on the Spot and Serendipity Homemade Ice Cream.

Which got us wondering -- are other music festivals this lucky?

Milwaukee's Summerfest looks like it might have more restaurants than the entire city. While some food vendors are pretty lackluster -- a Wendy's food truck? -- there's an over-abundance of corn on the cob and Hawaiian shave ice stands. We'd head for the Usinger's Wurst Garden for some one of the tastes that made Milwaukee famous.

The website for Texas' Austin City Limits Festival includes descriptions of food vendors that rival those of the bands. It's all local, heavy on the barbecue, and outnumbers hte listings for LouFest. Austin's favorite pizza for more than twenty years, Mangia Pizza, will be there, and hopefully they won't get sued. We'd stand in line for grilled pork belly sliders and bacon-wrapped sweet potatoes with goat cheese from Odd Duck Farm to Trailer.

Despite its hippie roots, Bonnaroo boasts a lot of corporate-sponsored food tents, like The Crunch Den hosted by Wheat Thins and The On Tap Lounge Brewed by Miller Lite, a beer tent with bands and, yes, Miller Lite. This year, though, the festival created the Food Truck Oasis, with trucks from six cities.

Farm Aid holds its annual day-long benefit concert in a different city every year. Last month it were in Kansas City. In keeping with its pro-small farm stance, all concessions are sourced from the area where the concert is held. This year there were also classes on rendering lard and making both baby food and sauerkraut.

Lollapalooza led the way in modern rock festivals, and its organizers also set the stage for better festival food when they introduced Chow Town a few years ago. Along with Chicago favorites -- pizza, hot dogs, Goose Island Brewpub and Haus of Sausage -- there are host booths by celeb chefs like Gordon Elliott and a farmers' market.

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