A Feeling of euphoria Part I: The History of euphoria
If You Only Have 30 Seconds…
- euphoria is a yearly food, wine, and music festival that takes place in Greenville.
- The festival is the brainchild of Carl Sobocinski and Edwin McCain.
- Philanthropy and shining a positive light on Greenville served as the crux for the development of the festival.
Stop me if you think if you’ve heard this one before, two guys walk into Soby’s and by the time they have finished dinner, they have started on the journey to create one of the coolest food, wine, and entertainment festivals in the country, euphoria. Ok, so not many people are familiar with the beginnings of euphoria, and that is why I was meeting with Carl Sobocinski, the president of Table 301 Restaurant Group.
The summer sun beat down as I pulled up to Table 301 Catering and Kitchen. Carl sat at a couch in the front of the restaurant. One of the things I was taken by was how instantly Carl was concerned with my comfort. There was a short exchange as to where I would be most comfortable typing (taking notes). We settled on a high-top table in the rear of the restaurant. I didn’t realize just how deep the history of euphoria ran
Started in 2006, euphoria was the brainchild of restaurateur Carl Sobocinski and singer-songwriter Edwin McCain. Even 13 years later, it is clear that Carl is as passionate now about the festival, as he was then.
“The first year, this was an idea that Edwin McCain and I came up with at Soby’s. He looked around at his manager, and I looked at my staff and said ‘what do you think? Can we pull this off?’ It was a two-day wine and food festival, and has now grown to a four-day event with three other events throughout the year.”
The festival wouldn’t be near as successful as it has been without the hard work of Carl, Edwin, and their respective teams. “It is like opening a new restaurant, you pour everything into it. We put everything else on hold to work on it, and create it. It is in the last two weeks where everything comes together. There is so much that goes into it; securing restaurants, hotels, a crazy amount of stuff. It feels like the opening night of a restaurant. There is a big sigh of relief, a lot of cheering and hugging.” It was that way for the first two years of the festival. Carl informs me that for the first two years, it was all run by volunteers and that it wasn’t until the third or fourth year that a director and full event team was hired.
With each consecutive year, the euphoria event team tries to deliver a different experience to festival attendees.
“How do we outdo ourselves from year-to-year? Hopefully, we can maintain a ‘bigger isn’t better’ mentality, we need to change the experience. Intimacy is more important than having a huge impersonal experience. We could pack out a house, but giving people the chance to interact with the entertainers and chefs is truly important. We want the quality to improve from year to year.”
My time with Carl was coming to an end, and so I decided to ask him if he could deliver a message to the readers, what would it be?
“There are two messages. For those that don’t live in Greenville, it will be the best value, best money spent to come and have an opportunity to walk down the sidewalk with Edwin McCain or have a conversation with Curtis Duffy or Frank Stitt.” For the locals, I would say it is an opportunity to have big name chefs and entertainers come to your city and have them cook dinner for you without having to travel.”
As great as the food, wine, and entertainment of euphoria are, Carl and Edwin also designed euphoria with a purpose.
“We started with philanthropy. We knew we could put our heads together and create an event that would raise money instead of having to do a bunch of smaller events that didn’t have as much of an impact.” In addition to their desire to help local charities, they both hold a deep love for Greenville, and both call it home. The festival is a way for them to shine a positive light on the city they love.
This isn’t the end of the euphoria story. In the coming weeks, we will delve into the philanthropy of euphoria, as well as the food. Get your tickets here!
If You Like This, You’ll Love – ITK’s 2018 Summer Festival Guide
7 things to do, eat, & experience for the week ahead - straight to your mailbox each Sunday.