Preview by Joshua Maloni
A press conference was held Monday to unveil the Brickyard Brewing Company's "68 Guns." The pilsner was created for this Saturday's Spirit of the '80s concert at Academy Park, which will be headlined by Mike Peters & The Alarm. A portion of the event's proceeds will benefit both the Love Hope Strength Foundation and Roswell Park Cancer Institute.
"We're really excited and we look forward to doing this every year. It's getting bigger and bigger every year," event executive producer Michael Hanrahan said.
The annual concert event began as a Lewiston-Porter High School class reunion offshoot. Today, in addition to offering a top musical act from the 1980s, the concert raises money for what organizers deem a worthwhile cause.
"One of the things with our Spirit of the '80s that, along with bringing the community in to it, is we want to give back to our community," Hanrahan said. "So, what's unique about our event, all the proceeds are going to go to both the Love Hope Strength Foundation, which is a foundation that was started by Mike Peters, who is a leukemia survivor. He started a foundation called Love Hope Strength. What they do is they go to concerts all over the country and their tagline is 'Saving Lives, One Concert at a Time.'
"So, we'll have volunteers from Love Hope Strength on hand that will be swabbing people and ... we're going to have this foundation here that's going to be trying to find matches for bone marrow transplants. We're also going to be donating some of our proceeds to the Roswell Park (Alliance) Foundation."
Roswell Park Special Events/Community Coordinator Alexandria Hoaglund said, "The alliance and the blood and marrow transplant center at Roswell Park is honored to be one of the beneficiaries of the Spirit of the '80s this year. Our BMT center is one of the nation's top, and has been accredited by the Foundation for the Accreditation of Cellular Therapies since 2002. ...
"It's a very great honor and it's a testament to what we do at Roswell Park. We offer advanced techniques, therapy services and programs to improve the outcomes of such BMT patients. And it's our purpose to guide our patients through every step of this transplant process, because it is a long one. So, we're really there before, during and after, and then even helping and ensuring a healthy future for these people and their lives. But it's because of organizations like the (Roswell Park) Alliance Foundation, Love Hope Strength, that we're able to make progress in eliminating cancer's grip on humanity."
Peters was diagnosed with cancer in 1995. The Welsh singer decided to don a camouflage jacket and fight back. He has thus far beaten the disease three times. Currently, his wife, Jules, is battling breast cancer. She continues to tour with Mike and the band.
"Founded by cancer survivors, LHS leverages the power of music to expand the marrow registry through our 'Get on the List' campaign.
"At LHS, we believe in offering real hope to people currently living with cancer."
Hoaglund said, "I actually thought this was interesting, because one of Love Hope Strength's statements of belief is ... in their title: Hope. And Roswell Park is also very similar. It's 'Unleashing the Human Power of Hope.' So, I thought that was kind of interesting to kind of match up in our missions and in our beliefs. And so, we are just really grateful for the community support that we receive every single year. And it's truly important, these kinds of donor dollars, that help us achieve our goals and, hopefully, find a cure for cancer, and also continuing to better our services, our research, our bone marrow transplant processes, all of that kind of stuff. We're very grateful to be the beneficiary this year."
Now, about that beer.
Hanrahan explained, "One of the best things in Lewiston right now is the Brickyard Brewing Company, making some really great beers, 'White Bronco,' their IPA. (Brewmaster) John Meteer and I, we were talking about what we wanted to do. So, I reached out to Mike Peters of The Alarm and I asked, 'What's your favorite kind of beer?' He said, 'Well, I like the Czech-style of (pilsner).' I asked John, I said, 'John, can you do a Czech style of (pilsner)?' He said, 'I can do that.' He needed a little bit of time to do it right. So, he went to work on it. We just debuted Saturday at a great event (a fundraiser for Gavin Burns), and it went off very well."
Meteer said making "68 Guns" was "a super arduous process, because the water that we used had to be done a specific way. I wanted to use old-world ingredients, traditional ingredients, so it actually took us a couple days just to brew the beer. Start to finish it was about six weeks.
"It's super soft, super easy. All traditional European continental ingredients. Awesome for craft beer lovers. ... And it's great for the people who just want to have a beer on a hot summer night while listening to good music."
BBC Manager Steve Matthews said the pilsner is on tap now inside the eatery. BBC is located at 436 Center St.
Hanrahan said the seventh Spirit of the '80s is "the most ambitious."
"It's going to be a full day of music," he said. "We've got a great band of teenagers starting out the night - a band called 10. We've got a great band from Buffalo, New York: Dead Letter Office. They are an REM tribute band. They'll be playing at 5 o'clock. At 7 o'clock, we've got a band out of Canada, Toronto, it's Desire, the international U2 tribute band - one of the best U2 tribute bands in this area. They played the Buffalo Irish Festival for the last three years, so they have a huge following in this area. And, of course, we have Mike Peters & The Alarm at 9 o'clock as our headliner."
Hanrahan said, "The Alarm was known back in the '80s for hits such as '68 Guns,' 'Rain in the Summertime,' 'Strength.' They've continued all the way through now with hits off their new album, 'Equals,' which just came out on June 29. It's No. 3 right now in the U.K. They just started playing shows here, in the U.S., selling out all over. They're sold-out the night before our show, in New York City, and they're also sold-out the night after our show in New Jersey."
"I've already seen a lot of people from outside of the area that are coming here. That's one thing about our event, that we've grown in seven years. We've become an event - like the Peach Festival, the Jazz Festival - that people actually come, they stay here in the village, and they spend money here. So, one of the things that we really wanted to do this year is highlight some of the unique things that are Lewiston."
He added, "We've learned a lot from the very first days that we did this just as a class reunion. We've really grown this to this level, (which) I feel really comfortable with. We've got the right people that are helping out, and things are just getting done from people that helped us in the beginning, donating funds to get started with this, to people in the community that are just coming up to me saying, 'Mike, what can we do?' So, it's really become a real grassroots community event that I look forward to doing year after year."
Tickets to the Spirit of the '80s are $20 in advance at Lewiston Music (791 Center St., in the CVS plaza), and online at www.brownpapertickets.com
Mike Hanrahan speaks at the Spirit of the '80s press conference as Roswell Park Special Events/Community Coordinator Alexandria Hoaglund and Brickyard Brewing Company brewmaster John Paul Meteer look on.
Press conference organizer Bob Koshinski welcomes the media.
Pictured, from left, Brickyard Brewing Company brewmaster John Paul Meteer, Roswell Park Special Events/Community Coordinator Alexandria Hoaglund, Spirit of the '80s promoter Michelle Hosie, event executive producer Mike Hanrahan, and BBC Manager Steve Matthews.