Bragg Jam keeps growing

wcrenshaw@macon.comJuly 27, 2013 

The Travis Denning Band performs at The Crazy Bull on Saturday during the Bragg Jam Music Festival and Concert Crawl. The Crazy Bull opened its doors on Saturday. Video by Jason Vorhees/jvorhees@maco.com

The Bragg Jam Music Festival and Concert Crawl featured three new venues Saturday, and one of them was really new.

“We were painting as people were going in,” said Ricky Hill, manager and co-owner of The Crazy Bull on Second Street. “We had people that was betting we weren’t going to get open.”

It was a sprint to the finish of a two-year renovation of the building constructed in 1899. Hill said they certainly wouldn’t be open by now had it not been for committing to Bragg Jam, and he said the festival itself inspired them to start the nightclub. It has three levels, and they plan to have regular live music, primarily country and rock ’n‘ roll.

The growth of the music festival has proven live music is making a comeback, he said.

“It shows how many people and how many artists are out there that need a home and need an upbringing,” he said.

Hill’s son-in-law, country music singer Jared Ashley, was slated as the final act of the night.

A second new venue in Bragg Jam is also one of the oldest music venues in Macon. Grant’s Lounge on Poplar Street, a 42-year-old institution of Macon music, became a part of the festival this year.

Brandon Meyers, who said his job title at Grant’s is “the man of many hats,” has been on the job since January and wasn’t sure why Grant’s had not been a part of Bragg Jam in the past. But he said he was excited about being involved with it this year.

“Bragg Jam has always been a staple of Macon music culture, and there is no place more music-oriented than Grant’s Lounge,” he said. “We are a musicians’ joint above everything.”

Bragg Jam is named for brothers Brax and Tate Bragg, local musicians who were killed in a car accident in 1999. Their music friends found healing in getting together for a jam session following the tragedy, and it became an annual event. In 2003, it grew into a city-wide music festival.

This year it featured 56 bands on 15 stages, up from 46 bands and 12 stages last year. This was the first year advance tickets were sold, and as the festival began, marketing co-chair Everett Verner said 300 had been sold. He was hoping to have a crowd of at least 3,000.

  Saint Francis, right, and Shonna Tucker and Eye Candy, right, perform during Bragg Jam on Saturday night. Videos by Jason Vorhees/jvorhees@macon.com

Attendees weren’t just from Middle Georgia. Jason Thompson, of Brunswick, and Courtney Sampsell, of Charleston, S.C., came to Macon just for the festival. They are fans of the indie folk band The Front Bottoms, which played at The 567 Center for Renewal.

“They are very genuine and easy to relate to,” he said.

(See what fans were saying about Bragg Jam on social media.)

Earlier in the day the child-friendly Bragg Jam Arts @ The Park was held at the Cherry Street Plaza in front of the Georgia Sports Hall of Fame.

In addition to an array of exhibits and food trucks, it featured a performance by members of the Otis Redding Foundation’s Big “O” Singer/Songwriter Camp. Redding’s daughter, Karla Redding-Andrews, is executive director of the camp.

She said the event gives the youths a chance to show off their skills before an audience.

“Any opportunity to try to expose their talent is great,” she said.

William Burnette Jr., of Warner Robins, was watching his son William perform on the saxophone. His son plays in the Northside High School band, but he said the music camp has been valuable.

“It really has expanded his view of music,” he said.

To contact writer Wayne Crenshaw, call 256-9725.

 

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