I headed out to Veteran’s Memorial Park in Oroville on a scorching Saturday afternoon to check out the 8th annual Oroville Beerfest. When I arrived at the park with my photographer in tow, I was surprised to gaze upon an unshaded dirt lot with a few tents thrown up for vendors and music. It was high noon and the sun was already beating down. How would people survive a beer fest sans shelter from Ra?

The event was hosted by the Native Sons of the Golden West John Bidwell Parlor #21. Before the event began, I roamed around to give the scene an ocular pat down. There were 12 different West Coast breweries including Ninkasi (Eugene), Tioga Sequoia (Fresno), and Lost Coast from Eureka. All in all, there were upwards of 40 different types of beer to taste from.

I was pleased to see Roland Allen, head brewmaster at Feather Falls Casino, pouring his wares and chewing the fat with whomever was willing. His Dancing Trees Hefeweizen was airy, delicious, and contrasted well with their full-bodied, hoppy, Naughty Native American IPA. For those gluten-sensitive and calorie-counting patrons, slightly more sophisticated libations were availed in the form of eight different wines and a few hard ciders. I learned something interesting about local Oroville winery, Purple Line—they will be implementing the first urban crushpad north of Sacramento.

Musicians Garrett Gray and Jack Knight kicked off the entertainment for the event. Gray played a few stripped down versions off of his band’s new EP, Closer Every Day. Knight played a tight set of strictly originals—although one patron turned to me and asked if he was covering Robin Pecknold of Fleet Foxes fame, a huge compliment to say the least. Furlough Fridays was midway through their set of lackluster alt-rock as I exited the festival.

I briefly spoke to event coordinator Kent Fowler, who was constantly running around overseeing every detail of the festival, about the event and organization he represented. The NSGW have an interesting history. Founded by General George Win, a Virginian, in 1875 to “preserve the pioneer spirit” in the vein of Manifest Destiny. In sad actuality, Win was not native to the West, but instead contributed to the gentrification that lead to the demise of the region’s actual native people and their culture. Fowler mentioned that “the group was not just about white people,” and that the Sons want to educate and gain wisdom from past mistakes. I’m assuming he was referring to the NSGW’s push for internment of Japanese-Americans and the subsequent stripping of their voting rights in the 1940s.

In total, the event was a success. It had all the ingredients of a good time: great beer, good music, and great food. Funds from the event were donated to the Veteran’s Memorial Park.

Bred and buttered in Chico, David Neuschatz has been devouring music since toddlerdom. His earliest memories are dancing around his living room to Annie Lennox's Diva and Yes' 90125. In lieu of cartoons, he soaked in top 20 countdowns from VH1 and MTV on weekend mornings. His goal is to spread as much good music as he can to the masses. For this reason, he cites ethnomusicologist, folklorist, and archivist, Alan Lomax, as his idol.