Mmmhops: Oklahoma band Hanson mixing up sixth hometown Hop Jam Beer & Music Festival
TULSA — For the sixth year, Hanson is bringing together two favorite things in arguably the band’s favorite place with The Hop Jam Beer & Music Festival in downtown Tulsa.
“The festival was born with the idea of bringing together two things we’re passionate about, and I think what we backed into is two really great fan bases: music fans … and then the craft beer community,” said Taylor Hanson, one third of the Tulsa-based sibling trio Hanson.
“We’re part of, I think, a movement to return to downtown with energy and business and the vision for our city and our state and also the growth of craft beer and what that’s doing across the country. We were able to, I think, crystallize those things in a form that really resonates, and there’s a lot of passion to tap into, which we’re really proud to be a part of.”
The Hop Jam Beer and Music Festival was created in 2014 by the co-founders of Hanson and Hanson Brothers Beer Co., which won a gold medal in 2013 at the World Beer Championships for its first beer, the Mmmhops Pale Ale.
Sunday’s free all-ages music festival will spotlight live entertainment on two stages — with Oklahoma and national acts, including the Hanson brothers on the bill — while the ticketed craft beer area, open only to attendees 21 and older, will showcase more than 100 brewers and 350 different beers.
Before they pour out any frosty mugs of brew, though, the Grammy-nominated band’s weekend has strings attached.
Bucket list item
The members of Hanson — brothers Isaac, Taylor and Zac — marked their 25th anniversary as a band in 2017, and as part of the celebration, checked their bucket list.
“Working with a symphony was completely on that list,” Taylor said by phone from the band’s home base in Tulsa. “(We) got a lot of excitement from it and a lot of interest from symphonies and a lot of feeling that there was a potential for it to be a big project.”
For their symphonic double album, “String Theory,” released last year on their Tulsa-based 3CG Records, the trio collaborated with Oscar-winning composer David Campbell to create orchestral arrangements of their biggest songs like "MmmBop,” and "This Time Around," along with new and never-before-heard tracks like “Breaktown” and "Reaching for the Sky."
“One of the things I’m most proud about the project is it really does weave together many eras of music, but do something very different with them. … It’s tied together by an aspirational, lyrical story that is really sort of painting a picture of coming up against challenges and overcoming them and taking on failure and rising above it,” Taylor said.
For one of the last shows on the “String Theory” tour, Hanson will play a sold-out hometown show Friday night with the Tulsa Symphony.
Before the spend much of the summer writing and recording with plans to release new music next year, the brothers are going to headline Sunday’s Hop Jam, where the musical lineup will include the anticipated reunion of indie rockers Phantom Planet, who broke out in the 1990s with the rambling tune “California” and have been on hiatus since 2008. The bill also will include the fourth Hanson brother, Mac, who will perform with his Los Angeles-based folk-rock band Joshua & the Holy Rollers.
“The Hop Jam is a great opportunity to put on an amazing day of music and community, see lots of worlds come together, and so having Mac and his band be able to be a part of that is thrilling,” Taylor said. "It’s great to be able to share something we’re passionate about and also give people a chance to connect with somebody that we think quite a bit of.”
What: Hanson: “String Theory” with Tulsa Symphony.
When: 7:30 p.m. Friday.
Where: Tulsa Performing Arts Center, 110 E Second.
Tickets: Sold out.
What: The Hop Jam Beer & Music Festival.
When: 3 p.m. Sunday.
Where: Tulsa Arts District, north end of downtown Tulsa.
Admission: Music is free and all-ages; ticketed craft beer area is 21 and older with valid photo ID.
Information and tickets: www.thehopjam.com.