Bar shows can get old. Barn shows seem age-old, and I’m not talkin’ about the barn dances so loved by frat boys. Hogchute Opry is a fest dedicated to showcasing and celebrating C-U’s homegrown alternative country and folk.
The festival, now in its third year, is a two day-long event in Monticello that encourages camping, grilling, drinking, dancing, bonfires and horse shoeing. Brad Olson of Neoga Blacksmith organizes the event, and as a Monticello native, he knew of the best place to throw it: the Kalyx Center for Sustainability
“It’s not at a bar, so you’re not getting people, or foot traffic in who are just there to drink and talk with their friends,” Olson said. “We’re getting a lot of people out who are there to hear the music, and support these local bands, and to hear bands that maybe they haven’t heard before but they’ve got a chance to now.”
The barn was also stage to one of Daytrotter’s Barnstormer live sessions—give it a listen and hear for yourself how good the acoustics are. Olson described the barn as a “beautiful space” for bands to play, set back in the woods, with a nice upstairs hayloft area and wooden indoors so the show can go on rain or shine.
The bands themselves are testament to C-U’s flourishing alt-country and folk scene, and the uniqueness therein. Olson has worries “that people are going to look at it and think it’s country music, like a belt buckle and big tall hat kind of thing,” which it’s not.
“It does have elements of those country-genre, Americana kind of stuff but a lot of it, there’s some edge to it, incorporating what the town is known for as far as some ambience and noise, and post punk stuff that’s really popular these days too. A lot of these bands are challenging what people might consider a country band,” he said.
The lineup of 13 bands is almost completely local, and includes bands spanning the spectrum of indie rock to alt country.
If you’re planning on coming to the Opry, camping is encouraged (“it can get kind of scary on country roads at night” according to Olson) and it’s BYOB as well as BYO-food (it’s a “potluck kind of attitude”) although Fusilli Tony’s Italian Food truck will be there as well.
Whether you’re coming for one day or camping out all weekend, just $10 (!) guarantees you bonfires, camaraderie, and some of the best music C-U has to offer.
For more information and directions to Kalyx Center, see the Hogchute Opry Facebook event page.