Since 1993, the Arizona-based band Mogollon (that’s mug-e-on) has serenaded attendees of the Nevada County fair with music that band member Duane Moore describes as being rock country with a taste of Americana. To commemorate the special place the fair has held in hearts of the band for the past two decades, Mogollon has written a new song dedicated to their fans in Grass Valley.
“Probably about four years ago, one of the coolest memories I had was when we were just standing around on the Budweiser stage between songs. Next to the stage is the beer garden itself, where they serve beer, and there’s a bunch of people out on the deck and they were watching us up there. I just hollered at them, ‘hey, people of the beer!’ And they all held up their beers. Between shows, they came up to us and one lady said, ‘you know, not everybody drinks beer Duane. Some of us drink wine.’ So the next show, I got up there and said, ‘people of the wine!’ And all the ladies held their glasses up,” Moore described. “Then, after that show, there were some people sitting on bales of hay and they said, ‘not everybody drinks here. What about the people of the hay?’ So I did that the next show, and we built a song around it. It’s called ‘People of the Beer.’ It’s just really a fun song.”
The tune will be played during the fair, and is also available on the Nevada County fairgrounds website.
Mogollon began playing at the fair when an agent booked them in the Western Fairs Association showcase, which saw them tour county fairs all along the West Coast. When it came time to perform in Grass Valley, Moore describes it as being love at first sight.
“For some reason, this one just kind of stuck to us. We don’t do any (fairs) in Northern California anymore except for this one. We had an agency that booked us on the West Coast. The first time I stepped on those grounds, I was just amazed by the actual location,” he said. “It reminded me so much of our home up on the Mogollon rim in Arizona, because we have Ponderosas, we have the pine trees and things of that nature. Not as grand and big and beautiful as those are, but it still reminds us of home and the people up there are just amazing. That’s kind of been our lure to come back every year. We made a lot of good friends up there.”
The band has also been impressed with the dedication of Nevada County residents both to the band, but to the fair as a whole.
“People in Arizona don’t get it, you know? They think it’s just a county fair. But it’s more than that. You actually have to experience it. It’s the people that make it,” he said. “I remember when we first started it was almost like we were aliens. But now, over the years I’ve loved watching it grow. That’s probably my best memory, watching every time we’ve ever been up there, each and every show more and more people come up to watch you play and they stick with it.”
Mogollon will play six shows over three days. Friday the band will play on the Pine Tree stage at 8 p.m., and again at 9:30. They’ll then move over to the Budweiser True Music stage for their performances on the Saturday and Sunday, where they will again occupy the 8 and 9:30 p.m. slots.
“I just really hope everybody comes out and I can’t wait to see everybody again. It’s fabulous, and we look forward to this fair every year,” Moore added. “It’s cool, man. I love it, I love it so much.”
Spencer Kellar is a college intern at The Union.