If you’re the type that travels for food and loves a food festival or really an opportunity to try dozens of dishes from various chefs all in one place, then you should probably have Greenville, South Carolina’s euphoria on your radar. Celebrating its 17th year, euphoria will take place September 15 to 18. With the slogan, eat. sip. listen., this festival features 45+ events over the course of four days all with one common theme — incredible food, drinks, and music.
And it’s all for a great cause. In addition to being a dream for those who love southern cooking, euphoria is a nonprofit organization and festival proceeds fund projects for local nonprofits that help children, provide education through music or performing arts, and work to eliminate hunger. In 2022, euphoria gave more than $45,000 to four different charities, the most ever granted in one year.
We chatted with euphoria’s executive director, Morgan Allen, about all things euphoria 2022 where she touched on what’s new, what’s exciting, and what’s back that regular festival attendees are most looking forward to.
Here’s how it went:
What do you think people are most excited about this year?
Morgan Allen: For the first time since 2019, we’re hosting our full schedule of euphoria events. We have more than a dozen pre-festival events under our belts already this year, and we’re about to host 45 more over the course of four days in September. It’s not lost on us how fortunate we were to never have to cancel the festival or go a full year without euphoria events, but it sure does feel good to be back in full swing.
So what new things are happening in 2022?
MA: We’re hosting more guest chef dinners and classrooms than ever before, and celebrating a wide variety of diverse cuisine from our talented line-up of chefs. With specialties ranging from paella, seafood, Creole, and vegan dishes to Asian, French, and Spanish-inspired cuisine, there’s something for every taste and plenty of chances to try something new.
We’re also excited about the strong female representation at euphoria this year, with more than 30 food, beverage, and music professionals contributing to the festival. Three of the seven participating chefs from Michelin-starred restaurants are female, and they will all serve as sous chefs in our Healthy Lunchtime Throwdown kids’ cooking competition, designed to nurture the next generation of culinary talent. We’re thrilled to bring this event back after a brief hiatus, along with two other fan favorites: Songwriter’s Recipe and Party in the Park.
What events do you recommend to someone who has never attended euphoria before?
MA: Feast by the Field – is an absolute must for seasoned euphoria attendees and newcomers alike. Whether you want to sample ‘til your heart’s content from chefs, breweries, winemakers, and regional distillers, learn some new techniques from cooking demos on the culinary stage, or just sit back and relax while you listen to live music, this is the largest tasting event of euphoria weekend.
Party in the Park – Guests will (quite literally) party in the park with live music, crafted beverages, and delicious bites from some of the best chefs across the Southeast. Be sure to bring your dancing shoes — this is the not-to-be-missed party event of the weekend!
Songwriter’s Recipe – An intimate behind-the-scenes event featuring legendary songwriters Tim Nichols, Heather Morgan and Monty Criswell, who have written songs for Tim McGraw, Keith Urban, Kenny Chesney, George Strait, Eric Church, and many more. Hear the stories behind the songs you’ve been singing along to while noshing on bites and sipping specially crafted cocktails.
Classroom on a topic of interest – euphoria’s emphasis on education is evident in the 20+ classrooms, lunch & learns, and wine seminars on the schedule. Topics cover everything from chocolate, acai bowls, pickling, and knife skills to gin, tequila, beer, sparkling wines, and Japanese liquors – and more.
What new events do you think can’t be missed?
MA: We are kicking off year 17 with A Tyler Florence Homecoming in partnership with VisitGreenvilleSC at Soby’s New South Cuisine on September 15. For the first time ever, Food Network star and James Beard-nominated chef Tyler Florence will host a wine dinner in his hometown during euphoria. This dinner is already sold out, but it’s certainly one of the events everyone is talking about.
Party in the Park and Songwriter’s Recipe aren’t necessarily new, but both are returning after a brief hiatus, so we consider them “new” for this year. Both are favorites that people missed when we were unable to host them, so we’re excited to bring them back and move them to new venues that should really enhance the guest experience.
We’re always coming up with new topics for euphoria classrooms. The wide range of options this year is unlike anything we’ve offered before. One person could potentially learn how to pickle, brew craft beer, build the perfect acai bowl, and perfect their knife skills in the course of one weekend.
Our Michelin dinners are new and different every year, and truly present a once-in-a-lifetime dining experience with some of the best chefs in the business. This year, we have one of the most awarded paella chefs in the country, the first Swedish woman to be part of a two Michelin-starred restaurant (and only the second in the U.S. to do so), and the 2021 World’s Best Restaurateur all participating. And for the first time ever, we have four chefs from Michelin-starred restaurants collaborating for one dinner, which is sure to be an unforgettable dining experience for all who attend.
How has the festival grown over the last 17 years?
MA: In one word – intentionally. We are proud of how euphoria has grown over the years, attracting incredible culinary talent from all over the country (and even the world!), and becoming known as a festival the locals love and tourists are willing to travel for. At the same time, we’ve worked hard to keep euphoria at an enjoyable size and maintain the intimacy that allows guests to interact with award-winning chefs, songwriters who’ve written major hits, and some of the best winemakers, mixologists, distillers, and chefs from across the Southeast.
euphoria is a nonprofit festival. Proceeds fund projects for other local nonprofits that help children, provide education through music or performing arts, and work to eliminate hunger. Since its inception, euphoria has funded nearly 50 projects for other local charities. We created a Producers Circle where our VIP ticket holders make charitable donations above and beyond their ticket packages, and that’s helped us give more money back to our community than ever before. We’ve also been able to host more events throughout the year and increase our economic impact on the Upstate and our local hospitality, culinary arts, and music industries.
The 17th annual euphoria will take place September 15-18, 2022 in Greenville, South Carolina. Check out the full event line up and get your tickets here.