| Long lines at the Great American Food and Music Fest. (c) Pamela Palma
At the Great American Food and Music Fest on Saturday more than 10,000 people turned out to a massive ampitheater overlooking the Santa Cruz mountains to tuck into food and music. Though the stage at the Shoreline will host Coldplay, No Doubt and Phish later this summer, on Saturday the fans that turned out in droves were mostly the hungry kind (hungrier than they expected, due to a technological meltdown involving electronic wristbands, very long lines and occasionally soldout food -- for which co-curator Ed Levine has profusely apologized).
But the day had its bright spots, among them glimpses of celebrity chefs and TV stars like Bobby Flay, Guy Fieri and Aida Mollenkamp demonstrating recipes for modern American cuisine. For price tags ranging from $35 to more than $500, festival-goers were able to see their heroes live and -- when the crowds didn't prove too daunting -- eat some serious food.
Brisket, more pix and Aida after the jump!
Locavorism was tossed aside in favor of hot dogs, foot-long Philly Cheesesteaks fresh off the plane, thick-sliced brisket in cardboard boxes, crispy red sausages covered in cheddar cheese squares hailing from Houston, Texas's Southside Market & Barbecue and neon-orange hot wings from Buffalo, New York's Anchor Bar. Unfortunately, the availability or lack thereof of these eats was a dominant feature of the day: When the wrist-scanning system crashed early in the afternoon, panicked revelers wondered aloud if that old-fashioned stuff "cash money" wasn't the way to go after all. (This reporter, despite a VIP press ticket, was not able to access any food to sample.)
| Brisket sandwich. (c) Pamela Palma
"Cooking live in front of an audience is the perfect opportunity to show people things about you and your cooking that they may not see in an edited show," Mollenkamp told us before demonstrating warm-weather grilled foods like flank steak marinated in lime, ginger, and nutty sesame oil. (It looked like a treat fit for Father's Day, and appropriately enough, Mollenkamp's own dad was in the audience).
Though some die-hard Bay Area locavores might chide festival coordinators for the sustainability impact of having food flown in from all over the country, one attendee noted that it was a "nice change of pace to have the focus be on another aspect of the food world." Part of food exploration is getting the chance to taste food from other places, and attendees were excited about getting to try foods that they'd otherwise have had to fly, travel to get to or spend significant money to access.
| Hot sauce spices up Southside Barbecue. (c) Pamela Palma
According to the event's PR company, those wishing to inquire about refunds can call Live Nation customer care at 888-598-4299 or e-mail info@