Chef RJ Cooper, Chef Craig Deihl and Chef Patrick Owens Join Chef Rusty Hamlin for Southern Ground Music & Food Festival

Southern Ground Executive Chef Rusty Hamlin will be joined by Chef RJ Cooper, Chef Craig Deihl and Chef Patrick Owens and others at this year’s Southern Ground Music & Food Festival in Charleston, SC. Hosted by Zac Brown Band in “one of the South’s most beloved foodie cities” (Forbes), the two day event on Saturday, April 16 and Sunday, April 17 promises to be “one of the most diverse and delicious music festivals on the concert calendar"(Country Weekly).

Chef Rusty Hamlin returns to curate the festival's fifth culinary lineup. The Louisiana-born chef and co-creator of Zac Brown Band’s Eat & Greets uses fresh, locally-sourced ingredients throughout the festival's concessions and Front Porch Stage Boxes. Learn more via CNN here.

Returning to Southern Ground Music & Food Festival for his fifth year is festival veteran Chef RJ Cooper. Growing up in Detroit, RJ Cooper watched as his mother and Sicilian grandmother cooked everything from scratch. In high school, he took an apprenticeship at a local bakery before attending culinary school. After graduating, Cooper worked under a variety of chefs, including Eric Ripert before moving to D.C., where he served as chef de cusine at Vidalia and earned a James Beard Foundation award for Best Chef in the Mid-Atlantic. In 2011, Cooper opened his first restaurant, Rogue 24 followed by the rustic Gypsy Soul in 2014.  He has recently moved to Charlotte, NC where he has been tapped to create a new culinary experience for the Charlotte Marriott City Center.

Charleston based Chef Craig Deihl is the Executive Chef of Cypress and a founding member of the Butcher’s Guild, a network of meat professionals that promotes responsible butchering through education and community. In 2010, Deihl was chosen as Chef of the Year by the Charleston chapter of the American Culinary foundation and was a semi-finalist for the prestigious James Beard Foundation award for best chef.

Charleston native Chef Patrick Owens attributes his passion for southern food to his childhood and helping his grandparents in the kitchen.  Now Executive Chef at Langdon's Restaurant + Wine Bar and Opal Restaurant + Wine Bar in Mount Pleasant, SC, Owens continues to shine earning the only AAA Four Diamond Award East of the Cooper every year since opening.

All festival attendees will have access to gourmet concessions, including Southern Ground Grub featuring Hamlin’s Jambalaya. Other local restaurant favorites will be featured as well such as Home Team BBQ, Cru Cafe, Bohemian Bull, Mex 1 Coastal Cantina, Kickin’ Chicken and Gilligan's Seafood Restaurant.

Z. Alexander Brown, a new portfolio of wines from Zac Brown and  Napa Valley winemaker John Killebrew, will offer tastings on site. Highlighting the quality of California’s North Coast with a Cabernet Sauvignon and Proprietary Red Blend, Z. Alexander Brown wines unveil a robust style reflective of the land and the unlimited potential that can result from a pair of artists with a passion for bringing food, people and a sense of place together through creativity.

The star-studded chef lineup is complimented by musical performances from Thomas Rhett, Tedeschi Trucks Band, Michael Franti & Spearhead, Kacey Musgraves, Hunter Hayes, Marshall Tucker Band and more. Zac Brown Band will close each night with special sit-in performances.

Southern Ground Music & Food Festival is sponsored by Maui Jim and Stenson.

Two-day tickets on sale now HERE.