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Molly Wilkins - Local Editor -

August 14, 2013 - Page 8


Macon’s signature summer music festival: Bragg Jam

Patrick Hobbs/ Cluster Staff

Macon and Cochran based band, Back City Woods, performs during Bragg Jam at The Cox Capitol Theatre. The alternative country rock band drew a large crowd.

By Molly McWilliams Wilkins Local Editor

Macon does not die during the summer. Mercer students who remain in town are aware of this, however for those who go home they may not be aware that one of the largest music events Macon hosts each year takes place during July. Bragg Jam started off as an informal jam session between friends to honor the lives of Brax and Tate Bragg, brothers who were killed in a car crash in 1999. Bragg Jam has grown in several years to host numerous bands all over the city of Macon with stages ranging from down-

“ We look forward to watching Bragg Jam and the Ocmulgee Heritage Trail continue to grow and are honored that we can help keep the memory of Tate and Brax Bragg alive.” Laura Schofield, Vice President of NewTown Macon

town to North Macon as far as Bass Road. The 2013 Bragg Jam even saw the closing of a portion of Cherry Street for the first time. Everett Verner, Bragg Jam’s marketing chair said, “we expect that over 3750 were in attendance”. The music festival is also a benefit for the Friends of the Ocmulgee Heritage Trail, and Verner states that they are still calculating how much will be donated to the charity. Past Bragg Jam’s have donated over $150,000 in revenue to the Ocmulgee Heritage Trail. “NewTown has been thrilled to watch Bragg Jam grow into such a successful event. We ‘incubated’ Bragg Jam in the early years helping with the funding needed to get an event of this magnitude off the ground,” said NewTown Macon Executive Vice President Laura Schofield. “The family and friends of the Bragg brothers decided that donating proceeds to Ocmulgee Heritage Trail would be a fitting legacy, and over the years almost $100,000 has been donated to help extend the Trail to the over 11 miles that it is today. In fact, the most recent gift of $12,000 from the 2012 proceeds helped to close a funding gap on the trail extension through Riverside Cemetery.” Schofield continued to say “We look forward to watching Bragg Jam and the Ocmulgee Heritage Trail continue to grow and are honored that we can help keep the memory of Tate and Brax Bragg alive.” This year’s Bragg Jam grew to feature over 50 bands on 15 stages. The acts featured ranged from up and coming hip hop artist Elhae to the established Floco Torres, who gave an electrifying performance which roused the crowds, to rising country star Jason Ashley whose father in law has opened the new country bar “The Crazy Bull” on Second Street. That venue opened especially for Bragg Jam and will finish its construction in the coming weeks. Also performing were other regular acts to Macon such as Megan Jean and the KFB, who sang their own songs such as

“These Bones” and even did their own version of Salt n Peppa’s “Shoop”, which you can find on YouTube. Board member Leila Regan-Porter stated “this year every band at Grant’s Lounge has a member related to a Capricorn Records band. Lamar Williams Jr. is the son of second Allman Brother Band bassist Lamar Williams, and his band is comprised of Macon’s Scott Rainwater and Pat Yoe, who have been playing in Macon bands for years.” Thomas and The Believers will be returning to Macon to perform for Weaver’s Weekend at The Crazy Bull on Aug. 24. Another act you can catch again is Mercer’s own Burgess Brown is one of the members of the band Woolfolk, which performed to a standing room only crowd at The 567. Woolfolk’s Facebook page describes their style as “neo designer folk rock”. Bragg Jam is not just about the evening music performances, there are also events during the day of the concerts. Bragg Jam Arts @ The Park opened up the Georgia Sports Hall of Fame. Kids of all ages could experience booths with paintings, balloon animals, as well as an instrument petting zoo with members of the Macon Youth Orchestra. Atlanta based King of Pops also made an appearance with their all-natural popsicles. The night before the event showcased the Bragg Jam Patron’s Party at The Armory Ballroom with catering by The Moonhanger Group. Live music was provided by 80’s cover band Electric Avenue. Bragg Jam is a chance to check out a wide variety of bands at once at multiple venues across town. Trolleys are even provided to reach stages outside of the downtown area. Jessica Walden, Director of Communications at College Hill Alliance, said “Bragg Jam has grown from a small club crawl to a bonafide, citywide, signature summer music festival. This year saw the highest attendance and ticket sales yet. It was especially exciting to see students return for the summer - or never leave - just to expe-

rience the festival,” said Walden. “The festival stretched from north Macon to lower Bibb County. Downtown remained the hub with venues covering Cherry, Poplar and Second Streets. In addition to more venues and bands than ever before, the vibrancy of the event was at an all-time height with the closing of Cherry Street during the festival. For the students who missed out, this is your reason to come back to Macon every summer. Better yet, this is your reason to stay,” said Walden.

Patrick Hobbs/Cluster Staff

Lamar Williams, Jr. performs at Grant’s Lounge.

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