Council to vote on Bragg Jam alcohol measure tonight

After much haranguing, an ordinance and resolution that will allow people to consume alcoholic beverages in the streets of downtown Macon during Bragg Jam has cleared committee again and will be voted on tonight by the full City Council.

The music festival had requested permission for looser alcohol rules earlier this month, but Public Safety Committee members had to take a second look at the matter after the full council at first refused to vote on it. Some members had complained that the ordinance as originally written would unfairly exclude other organizations from special alcohol privileges because it focused only on the last weekend in July, when Bragg Jam is scheduled to take place.

The new ordinance provides a process by which any nonprofit organization can request special permission to allow open containers of alcohol into certain areas of the city, such as downtown. It will take a resolution from the mayor and council to grant the request.

The law mirrors First Friday regulations. It allows drinking outdoors only when a person is sipping alcohol from an approved cup and is wearing an approved wristband. The resolution granting drinking privileges specifically to Bragg Jam also says the festival will pay for or reimburse the city for the cost of security during the event and clean up afterward.

“I think we’ve ensured a successful event in the spirit of First Friday that people from throughout the region coming to Macon will enjoy,” said Councilman Larry Schlesinger, who sponsored the law.

Bragg Jam, scheduled for July 25, is a local music festival held annually in memory of brothers Brax and Tate Bragg, who died 10 years ago in a car wreck.

The brothers were active in the local music scene, and the festival is put on each year to raise money for the Ocmulgee Heritage Trail.

Last year, the festival raised $45,000, its most successful showing.

To contact writer Matt Barnwell, call 744-4251.