Courtesy of Andy Shaw
“Free” might be a college student’s favorite word, and the Andy Shaw Band is putting on an event that could be music to students’ ears.
“It’s cool because it’s free, and people should know that there is no cover charge to get in, which is really great,” said Andy Shaw, guitarist and lead vocalist for the band. “You can come in, get a waffle, check the (Brothers Drake Meadery & Bar) out and see what we’re doing.”
The event is the 4th annual Wafflepalooza, and it’s scheduled to begin at 5 p.m. Sunday at Brothers Drake Meadery and Bar. Wafflepalooza is set to include live music, free waffles from Taste of Belgium and free specialty mead syrups courtesy of the venue.
Andy Shaw and his brother, Chris Shaw, have organized the event together each year and said it has come a long way since its inception.
“When we came up with the idea, we were playing at Ruby Tuesday on Summit every Monday and were trying to think of cool things to do to get people to come out,” said Chris Shaw, who plays drums and sings backup vocals for the band. “We started with free grilled cheese … and we thought of what else we could plug into the wall that people can easily make food in. So we got waffle irons.”
This is a year of firsts for Wafflepalooza, Andy Shaw said. It is the first year the event will be held at Brothers Drake, as well as the first time patrons will not be required to make their own waffles.
“This year, getting Taste of Belgium to help us with that (by donating waffles), it was actually something Brothers Drake helped us get,” Andy Shaw said. “They asked if they would be interested in doing this kind of promotional, fun thing and they agreed.”
April Kulcsar, manager of entertainment at Brothers Drake, said the change in environment will help Wafflepalooza gain a vibe that is more conducive to the event.
“It’s a very warm and inviting place,” Kulcsar said. “It really brings the idea of brunch on Sundays as opposed to a dark bar at night.”
Also new this year is the invitation for those attending Wafflepalooza to bring their own toppings. The brothers decided to make it an official part of the event after patrons would randomly bring their own toppings in past years, Chris Shaw said.
“The first time we did it, we just had waffles and syrup, and people did actually bring their own toppings,” Chris Shaw said. “A bunch of people brought stuff like chocolate syrup, whipped cream, sprinkles, ice cream. Last year we even had chicken and waffles and we had a chili and cornbread waffle. That was really cool.”
The live entertainment to be featured at Wafflepalooza includes the Andy Shaw Band and local performer Matt Monta. Both Shaw brothers have performed with Monta in the past, and Andy Shaw said the singer-songwriter is just one more reason people should come to the event.
“He’s a fantastic local singer-songwriter, he’s been around for years,” Andy Shaw said. “I used to play bass with him in his band, and my brother Chris used to play violin in his band, so we go way back. He’s a great storyteller, and very passionate. He’s going to be doing the first set.”
People who are fans of Wafflepalooza will have the opportunity to showcase their support of the event with a special edition T-shirt that can be purchased at the event, Andy Shaw said.
“It’s going to be a limited run of the shirts,” Andy Shaw said. “We’ve got like 40 of these. They’re handmade and my brother … actually designed them and then we’re all going to press them ourselves.”
Wafflepalooza will also mark a personal milestone for a member of the band.
“It’s also my brother’s birthday, so it’s kind of all across the chart fun this year,” Andy Shaw said. “He’s a huge breakfast person, loves breakfast, and it’s fitting to have it on his birthday.”
Chris Shaw said he hopes that this unorthodox birthday celebration will become a regular occurrence.
“I’m really excited just for myself, I don’t even care if anybody comes,” Chris Shaw said. “Maybe it’ll become a tradition that it’s on my birthday.”
Brothers Drake Meadery & Bar is located at 26 E. Fifth Ave.