People attending the Bragg Jam music festival in Macon this year will get more bang for their buck.
Cost of the armbands to attend the 11th annual Bragg Jam — set for July 31 — will remain at $20, but the number of musical acts has increased to 44, spread over 10 venues across the city, organizers said Tuesday.
“It’s growing at its own rate,” said Brad Evans, president of the festival board. “We’re really happy to have new venues like Mellow Mushroom, Bottoms Up and Liz Reed’s come aboard. Hopefully, that will bring some more people and raise more money.”
Bragg Jam started in 1999 as a tribute to brothers Brax and Taylor “Tate” Bragg, local musicians who died in a single-car accident in Texas. That year, friends of the brothers gathered at the Rookery on Cherry Street and put together a jam session to fill in for a show that Brax Bragg was scheduled to play.
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Money raised from the festival benefits the Ocmulgee Heritage Trail. To date, the festival has donated about $110,000 to the trail.
The festival has grown in scope almost every year. Last year’s event featured 40 bands across eight venues. Jessica Walden, marketing director for the festival, said attendees will get to hear more music than in previous years because each venue will have longer sets.
“It’s more stages and more bands than ever before,” she said. “It’s more spread out than ever before, since we’ll be at the Mellow Mushroom in north Macon. ... The beauty of this year’s festival is that there are longer sets. We were able to spread the music out longer so people will be able to take in as much music as they can in one night.”
The concert crawl begins at 5 p.m. and runs until 2 a.m. The festival will provide trolley cars to shuttle people between downtown and non-downtown venues, officials said.
Evans said the music styles run a broad spectrum.
“It’s super-diverse,” he said. “There’s hip-hop, there’s rock ’n’ roll, folk, acoustic. We’re really proud of this schedule. We hope it’s our best year ever.”
Other changes and additions to the festival include moving the children’s festival from the riverwalk to Third Street Park.
The event, renamed Arts @ The Park, will feature a hot wings contest, a strolling magician, karate demonstrations, the Hayiya African Dance troupe and an entire day of performances from the “School of Rock” — different rock bands comprised of local middle and high school musicians. The park events are from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. and are free.
Also, there are more all-ages venues this year, making it more family-friendly, Walden said.
The festival is sponsoring an art contest for local artists to design this year’s Bragg Jam poster, Walden said. Entries must be submitted in person at the Macon Arts Gallery, 486 First St., from June 14-18.
The winner will receive a $200 prize, and all entries will be displayed for a show at the gallery July 28. For more information on the art contest, e-mail Meagan Evans at firstname.lastname@example.org.
To contact writer Phillip Ramati, call 744-4334.