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Annual Soul Jam concert in Macon draws family and friends who share food, music

The annual Soul Jam concert held at Henderson Stadium in Macon on Sunday could be called a big reunion.

Several people come to the concert every year to hear a variety of bands, to enjoy some homemade food -- sometimes cooked on site -- and to enjoy the time with their friends and family.

The event, organized by Sen. David Lucas, D-Macon, has been held 17 years even though it was called Flash Back for about five years, he said. Some of the money raised from the concert goes to the Al Lucas Memorial Scholarship Fund through the Community Foundation of Central Georgia Inc.

Al Lucas was David and Elaine Lucas’ son who died in 2005 from a spinal cord injury he suffered during an arena football game.

“We’ve given about $80,000 in scholarships during the past 10 years,” David Lucas said.

The concert attracts from 3,200 to 5,000 people each year, depending on the weather, he said. It’s always held the Sunday before Memorial Day. This year’s bands included Atlanta Dream Vision, Drakkar and Brick from Atlanta, Vic Allen from Mississippi, Jeff Floyd from Florida, Rick James Stone City Band Review from Ohio and Lucas’ band, Soul Jam.

Early Sunday afternoon Lucas couldn’t predict how many people he thought would come this year.

“Macon is a walk-up town,” he said, adding that people tend not to buy tickets in advance. “It makes it hard to get groups to commit to play here.”

The bands, who plan soul music, rhythm and blues and stepping, tend to attract people in their 40s and 50s and “some are in their 70s,” he said. This year people were coming from all over including Michigan, Florida, Mississippi, Alabama, South Carolina and Washington, D.C.

Rosalyn Rogers said she and her husband, Walter, who were settled in at about the 35-yard line with coolers and comfortable chairs have been coming to the concert about 15 years.

“I enjoy the atmosphere,” Rosalyn Rogers said. “And it’s usually family-oriented.”

They were joined by her brother Kenneth Hill and his wife, Jackie, all from Macon. They were expected more family to show up later.

Rosalyn’s favorite band: “I just want to hear David Lucas sing.”

Tim Conwell from Jackson and some of his friends were set up under a tent on the side of the parking lot. He is a disc jockey who goes by DJ Tiny Tim, so he was playing some tunes for the people tailgating outside the stadium.

“This (concert) has a lot of the old-school bands,” Conwell said. “I just like to support these guys.”

He and his friends were expecting up to 70 people.

The chef of his tent was Bryan Hampton, who was planning to serve teriyaki chicken, baked beans, pasta salad and corn on the cob.

“That’s for dinner, then later after the sun goes down we’ll have fried fish and homemade fries,” Hampton said.

A few years ago someone dared him to enter a barbecue competition at the Levy Festival in Macon and he won third place. Since then he enters about two competitions a year and while he has not won, he’s placed in the top three every time.

Since the rub he uses on his food in competition, Hampton’s Championship Barbecue Rub, is so popular, he bottled it and sells it mostly through ebay or other social media, said Hampton, whose full-time job is as a teacher in Jones County.

Elaine Sims from Athens and her group reminded everyone about the holiday as most of them were dressed from head to toe in red, white and blue. She was expecting about 50 people, including some friends visiting from Cincinnati. The cooks of the group spent most of Sunday morning preparing baked beans, hot and mild chicken wings, cole slaw, barbecue ribs and deviled eggs.

“It takes about two months to organize,” Sims said. “We come every year.”

As she danced to the beat of the Atlanta Dream Vision band under her tent, she said she didn’t have a favorite band at the concert.

“We like them all,” Sims said. “It doesn’t matter who’s playing.”

To contact writer Linda S. Morris, call 744-4223.

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