The 2019 Greenwich Wine + Food Festival Adds Acclaimed Artist Michael Franti to Music Line-Up

Greenwich, CTThe Greenwich Wine + Food Festival presented by PepsiCo today announced the addition of acclaimed group Michael Franti & Spearhead to the musical line-up for this year’s festival.  Known for his efforts to spread positivity through music, Franti will open for GRAMMY award-winning band Little Big Town, closing out the festivities for the ninth annual event.

“We could not think of a better act to kick off our musical performances that close out an amazing few days celebrating the best of food, drink and community,” said Suni Unger, founder and CEO of Unger Media, the parent company behind Greenwich Wine + Food and Serendipity magazine.  “The combination of Michael’s inspirational and upbeat lyrics, coupled with the gorgeous stage set on the shore of the Long Island Sound with a glass of wine in hand, sounds like the perfect Saturday night in September to me!”

The main beneficiary of this year’s festival is Food Rescue US, a non-profit organization based in Connecticut, that is a leader in reducing both hunger and food waste in America.  Through its proprietary mobile app, Food Rescue US connects volunteers with companies that have excess food and organizations feeding the food insecure.  Now available in 12 states and the District of Columbia, this celebrated organization completed more than 25,000 rescues in 2018, equaling over 6.8 million meals delivered.  The Town of Greenwich Parks and Recreation Foundation is also a beneficiary for this year’s event.   

“Food Rescue US is honored to be the beneficiary of the 2019 Greenwich Wine & Food Festival to further our mission of reducing food waste and hunger,” said Carol Shattuck, CEO of Food Rescue US. “There are important synergies between our organizations, and we look forward to working with the GWFF to showcase excellent food prepared by premier chefs while focusing on the importance of sustainability by reducing food waste.”

“After the GWFF, our team of volunteer food rescuers will ensure the unconsumed food will be delivered to Fairfield County social service agencies feeding the food insecure throughout the community. Also, we will also be on-site during the Festival to share how anyone can easily be part of our smart solution to reducing hunger and food waste using our proprietary app,” Shattuck added.

This year’s festival kicks off with an intimate Opening Night Master Chef Wine Gala on Friday, September 20, showcasing the culinary and music scene of New Orleans.  The evening, hosted by Gary Dell’Abate (Executive Producer of The Howard Stern Show “Baba Booey”) and Rob Burnett (Five-time Emmy Award-Winning Writer- Director), will honor this year’s class of Serendipity Most Innovative Chefs and feature their cuisine, as well as select Ambassador Chefs (names TBA).  The evening will include performances from GRAMMY award-winning Rebirth Brass Band and Kermit Ruffins & The Barbecue Swingers.

The Culinary Village, the heart of the annual event, takes place on Saturday, September 21, and features the Grand Tasting Tent, where guests can enjoy tastings and demonstrations from more than 150 of the area’s finest food, wine and spirits experts, as well as areas devoted to the best in burgers, BBQ, tacos and more.  The 8th Annual Burger Battle and 6th Annual Top Bartender Showdown will also return, providing friendly competition between area restaurants and bars.  Guests will experience sommelier, mixologist and brew master presentations, celebrity book signings, cooking demos with Special Guest Chefs, a celebrity green room with live interviews, an exclusive Meet the Masters panel discussion, The Tailgate Party with The Ultimate Taco, Burgers & Beers, and Grill Masters & BBQ. VIP ticket holders will also be treated to an exceptional dinner, prepared by Festival Ambassador Chefs in a special waterside tented area.  Confirmed celebrity talent includes Emmy Award-winner Valerie Bertinelli (Food Network’s Valerie’s Home Cooking), Geoffrey Zakarian (Chef/Partner The Lambs Club at The Chatwal and Point Royal at The Diplomat Beach Resort, Co-Host of Food Network’s The Kitchen and Judge on Chopped), Margaret Zakarian (President of Zakarian Hospitality), Marc Murphy (Food Network’s Chopped), Jessica Tom (Food Network Star season 14 winner), David Rose (Food Network Star season 13 finalist) and caterer to the stars Mary Giuliani (Mary Giuliani Catering & Events).  Michael Franti & Spearhead and Little Big Town will close out the 2019 event with live musical performances on the Pepsi stage.

Tickets for the event are available via www.greenwichwineandfood.com or by calling 203.588.1363.  Ticket options include the All Weekend Pass ($700), Friday’s Opening Night Master Chef Wine Gala ($275), Saturday All Day Pass ($200) and Saturday VIP Pass ($500).  On-Stage and Lawn Dinner Tables are sold out, but to be added to the waitlist, please call 203-588-1363.

The Festival weekend will be held rain or shine, and anyone under 21, including infants or children in strollers, will not be admitted. Pets are also not permitted.

ABOUT MICHAEL FRANTI

Michael Franti believes that there is a great battle taking place in the world today between cynicism and optimism, so he made his most recent album, Stay Human Vol. II, to remind himself and anyone else who’s listening, that there is still good in the world and that it is worth fighting for. The album has seen extensive critical acclaim from USA Today, Billboard, the Associated Press, Relix and many more, and soared to the top of the charts, reaching #1 on the Billboard Independent Album Sales chart and the iTunes Top Albums Singer/Songwriter (in the U.S. and Australia). The songs on Stay Human Vol. II were inspired by Franti’s new self-directed documentary Stay Human, which recently won an array of awards on the film festival circuit. Stay Human features “heroic everyday people” whose stories have inspired the singer, activist and yoga practitioner during his travels around the world. Stay Human Vol. II is the 10th LP from Michael Franti & Spearhead, following three consecutive albums that climbed into the top 5 on the Billboard Rock Albums Chart. Franti has also charted five singles in the top 30 on the Billboard Adult Contemporary Chart and had eight songs reach the top 25 on the Triple-A Chart. His hit, “Say Hey (I Love You)” has accumulated more than 2 million downloads worldwide. Franti also had a #1 hit single with his 2010 song “The Sound of Sunshine.” The most recent album and film are both part of a multi-pronged effort to spread positivity through Franti’s music, the Soulshine Bali hotel that he built as a home for yoga destination retreats, and Do It For The Love, a non-profit he and his wife, Sara Agah Franti, founded in 2013 to bring people living with life-threatening illnesses, children with severe challenges and wounded veterans to live concerts. To date, Do It For The Love has granted more than 2,000 wishes with the support of more than 100 artists.

ABOUT GREENWICH WINE + FOOD

Greenwich Wine + Food celebrates community, charity, food, beverage and more in the Connecticut and New York area with multiple events throughout the year, including the Greenwich Wine + Food Festival presented by PepsiCo, the GWF Golf Classic presented by Pure Leaf, and the GWF Fun Run presented by Aquafina. 2019 beneficiaries include Food Rescue US and the Town of Greenwich Parks & Recreation Foundation.  Greenwich Wine + Food is a part of Unger Media. For more information, visit www.greenwichwineandfood.com.

ABOUT THE GREENWICH WINE + FOOD FESTIVAL

The Greenwich Wine + Food Festival presented by PepsiCo is a multi-day event celebrating the area’s rich culinary landscape and showcasing innovation in the food and beverage industries. Previous participants include chefs Daniel Boulud, Scott Conant, Mary Giuliani, Alex Guarnaschelli, Marc Murphy, Adam Richman and Marcus Samuelson as well as musical artists Tim McGraw, Train and Ziggy Marley. This year’s festival will benefit Food Rescue US; previous beneficiaries include Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation, the Town of Greenwich Parks & Recreation Foundation, and Ment’or. Sponsors to date include Pepsico, LifeWTR, Pure Leaf, Bubly, Jeep, Compass, Monogram, Aitoro Appliances, Westy Self Storage, Yale New Haven Health Greenwich Hospital, NuKitchen, Rudy’s Limousine Service Inc., Barbara Zaccagnini, Whistle Pig Whiskey, 90+ Cellars, Delamar and Stamford Marriott.* The Festival was created by Suni Unger, founder and CEO of Unger Media, the parent company behind Greenwich Wine + Food and Serendipity magazine. For more information, visit www.greenwichwineandfood.com, or the event’s social media channels:  Facebook (@Greenwichwineandfoodfestival) and Instagram (@greenwichwineandfood).

(*As of 6/17/19)

ABOUT FOOD RESCUE US

Food Rescue US, a non-profit organization, is a leader in reducing both hunger and food waste in America. Through the use of its proprietary mobile app, Food Rescue US easily connects its  team of volunteers with companies that have excess food with organizations feeding the food insecure. Founded in Fairfield County in 2011 and still operating as its largest location, it has now expanded nationally to 13 states and the District of Columbia where its volunteer food
rescuers quickly deliver the food from its donors to the receiving organizations. In 2018, Food Rescue US completed more than 25,000 rescues equaling over 6.8 million meals delivered.

Americans waste 40% of its food supply, ending up in landfills, which creates methane gas and warms the planet. At the same time, there are more than 40 million individuals, including 12 million children, who are food insecure in America. Food Rescue US transforms a negative, food waste, into a positive by delivering fresh, healthy food to millions of people who are food insecure through a community of dedicated volunteers.

For more information, visit foodrescue.us and download the mobile app.

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