Burning Foot Beer Festival Art Connection.


2016 Installment

Lee S. Brown & Chip VanderWeir

From the beginning, the organizers of the Burning Foot Beer Festival were interested in a connection with art as part of the festival experience. In 2015, the festival’s inaugural year, the Hop Head Man logo was created and used in event branding. At that time,  initial concepts were developed for a centrally located flaming tower which eventually made its appearance at the Burning Foot Beer Festival in 2016 .

The Flaming “Hop Tower” was inspired by the circular layout of the festival, which in early renderings, resembled a medieval encampment. The beer centric tower needed height and a major presence, given the scale of the beach at Pere Marquette.  An initial cauldron, or drinking vessel idea to top the wooden structure was scrapped and a hop cone similar to the “Hop Head man” logo was conceived and eventually executed in steel. A custom propane burner was created to evoke an ancient signal fire and a further nod toward the brewing process.

Knowing that the tower would need to be erected on the beach, and removed afterward, a system of hinged wooden legs was added to the hop bud base.  When assembled on the beach this looked like a giant hop octopus.  With some trick knot tying, skilled driving of the Sky Lift, and excellent volunteers, the Hop Tower was raised, and the legs positioned themselves neatly beneath it, and were then pinned to the beach!

When the propane was lit just before opening, the crowd cheered and festival goers were seen taking selfies and group photos in front of the tower all thru the event. The artistic presence at Burning Foot adds to a unique experience. Beer, Beach, Flaming Artwork, Great People. What’s not to love?


Graffiti Wall & Pillars

2017 Installment

Artist: Dan Parker

Graffiti Wall was our first installment involving spray can paint as a medium. We wanted to make a piece that was full of color, a little underground and dirty. We also wanted to make these pieces interactive, so we allow a large portion of the bring to be blank allowing people to “tag” the wall with there names and take photos around it. Hopefully meeting new best friend who might also be tagging the wall in the process. Each each we will add a new panel to the wall with that year tag sign on it. We hope to see the wall grown as well as the signature on it.

There are also 5 Pillars with different graffiti designs on them. Once if you walk around it is actually a comic book cover with “Hop Man” saving a girl from the world of bad beer 🙂



Element Columns – Earth & Water

2018 Installment

Artists: Lee Brown

The Sculptural columns for this year’s Burning Foot experience and planned for next year are interpretations of the classical four elements. The Elements have been discussed prior to Aristotle, later were the basics of Alchemy and eventually led to modern chemistry (minus some of the philosophical aspects) Earth, Air, Fire and Water are still potent symbols and basic components of life and I would venture our enjoyment of beer.

Earth- for growing malty grain goodness and hoppy bitterness, sipped with toes in the sand

Air- Oxygen for the combustion that makes fire for brewing and CO2 for bubbles (thanks Young Einstein) physically felt as the fresh lake breeze

Fire- not an element as recognized by modern chemistry but still a transformative force and a symbol of purification and a presence above the Burning Foot Hop Tower

Water- the most abundant component of beer a vehicle for all the other parts to mix and meld and create the multihued, diversely faceted brew we gather to enjoy along the shore of one of the largest bodies of fresh water in the world.