Craft Beer and Blues Tunes at Concord University

Article by Miranda Woody

The college experience can be quite quiet when you attend a smaller university. However, Concord University has decided to get loud with their third annual Blues Brews and BBQ festival. This year, Blues Brews and BBQ will feature performances from The Allen Smith Band (named for Concord’s very own Allen Smith); Tazewell County teacher Victor Lawson; Trailer Swift & The Bolt Mountain Boys (also featuring some Concord alumni and employees); and the event’s headliner, The Tommy Cox Band. Along with some great blues tunes, West Virginia’s very own Greenbrier Valley Brewing will be serving up some Devil Anse IPA in cans and bottles. A few other craft beers will be featured, mainly sourced from Virginia and North Carolina. Pulled pork barbecue sandwiches and sides will also be served, fulfilling the event’s “BBQ” component. The event is free to anyone who wishes to attend, but food and beverages must be purchased on site.

Blues Brews and BBQ kicked off three years ago thanks to the careful planning and guidance of Concord University’s student activities planner, Andrew Sulgit. Sulgit was seeking to host an event that would be entertaining for students, staff, and the surrounding community. Essentially, Sulgit wanted to host an event that would surely become a staple on Concord’s close-knit campus, drawing attention to the small school for its friendly vibe and laid-back atmosphere. bluesbrewsbbqWhen asked about the general feel of Blues Brews and BBQ,  Sulgit says, “We have a great cross-representation of the community, faculty, staff, and students each year, and our attendance has been growing each time. You might see friends, classmates, professors and their kids! Everyone has a lot of fun, the atmosphere is very chill.”

With recent cuts to higher education, Concord University is fighting to stand out among the state’s larger universities such as West Virginia University and Marshall University. Located in the small town of Athens, West Virginia, Concord University is well-hidden in the Appalachian Mountains. Due to its partial seclusion, Concord hopes that events such as Blues Brews and BBQ will generate good press for the university and draw in potential students from surrounding areas. A large portion of Concord’s student body originates from Beckley, Lewisburg, and Princeton, West Virginia, making Concord a popular place for locals to seek higher education. Along with locals, however, Concord hosts a myriad of international students (the largest population of international students in southern West Virginia, in fact), and features an impressively sized International Students Club. In the coming years Concord wishes to diversify its student population even more, while still retaining its reputation as an affordable, prestigious option in higher education for West Virginians.

Blues Brews and BBQ happens every spring semester (along with many other “Spring Fling” events), and Concord students and staff have enjoyed the university’s recent enthusiasm for campus events. This year, Blues Brews and BBQ will be held on Friday, April 14, and will begin at 6 PM in the Student Center. The event will go until roughly 10 PM, or until all the beer and barbecue is gone.

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Miranda Woody

Miranda Woody

Miranda Woody is a Concord University student originally from Beckley, West Virginia. She is pursuing a degree in English. She spent the summer of 2016 living in Brooklyn, New York, and has visited seven countries in her lifetime. She is twenty-one years old, and plans to graduate from Concord in December, 2017. She enjoys writing poetry, rock climbing, and traveling. Check out her other work on

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