Sunday on Main
The Hop Jam Beer and Music Festival
In the fall of 2013, The Hop Jam was still merely an idea. The vision was to create an urban event that celebrated the fusion of craft beer, music and community at the heart of downtown Tulsa. Relatively new to the craft beer scene with our company Hanson Brothers Beer Co., we knew it would be a huge undertaking to assemble this larger-than-life event, but we felt Tulsa and Oklahoma were poised to host a world-class gathering that would bring all those elements together in one delicious package.
On napkins and whiteboards ideas were sketched for this new festival. Many late nights were spent brainstorming the beer lists, festival design, artist lineup and—most importantly—an iconic symbol that embodied the sprit of the event. The result of the brainstorm was a one-of-a-kind Hop Guitar made up of a green hop with a guitar neck shooting out the top. This symbol embodied what we wanted the festival to represent: a seamless fusion of beer, music and the arts, with all its artisanal imperfections.
Our first Hop Jam was made up of high hopes and no guarantees, but as the gates flooded with music and beer fans on a Sunday afternoon in May 2014 there was a palpable feeling that we were onto something special. That first year blew us (and most of our guests) away, with such a strong response that the beer ran out in under two hours. Of course year one had its challenges but they were good ones: so much demand that we could hardly keep up.
One of my favorite things is to host a gathering of people. It’s exciting and challenging to bring all the moving parts together in a single moment. If you are able to curate it correctly, just like a good house party or a delicious recipe, the desired result is a whole far greater than the sum of its parts. The Hop Jam is exactly that, a collection of many parts that fuse together, humming with life and energy. The Hop Jam’s spirit is like a high five followed by a group hug, with a beer in your hand—hopefully not the same hand as your high five!
Last year’s festival brought out 40,000-plus people, more than 60 brewers from 20 states and 10 countries, incredible performances on two stages at the heart of our neighborhood, the Brady Arts District. Heading into our fourth year we anticipate yet another incredible gathering that will help paint a picture we all hope to see fully realized in Tulsa: a picture of life, vibrancy and community. We want the event to be an invitation into the future.
Each year I am struck by this thought: There is such great potential in Tulsa. So in the months between each May, we continue to strive to achieve that potential that we see, each year on that Sunday on Main Street.
This year’s Hop Jam Beer and Music Festival is set for May 21. The event features a craft beer festival area with over 60 breweries. The music festival is free for all ages, with two stages featuring national acts and leading Oklahoma artists.
For ticket and event information go to TheHopJam.com.