More than 80 bands descend upon Macon on July 30 for the annual Concert Crawl during Bragg Jam Music and Arts Festival. A steal at just $30, a Bragg Jam ticket includes free trolley transport between venues. The family-oriented Arts & Kids Fest portion of Bragg Jam features free entertainment and activities and kicks off at 10 a.m. in the morning at Cherry Street Plaza downtown between the Tubman African American Museum and Georgia Sports Hall of Fame.
For the ultimate Bragg Jam experience, make it a weekend in Macon. Every Friday night, visitors rock, roll and stroll with the “Free Birds and Night Owls Tour,” a 1.5 hour guided excursion through the city’s legendary and notorious music history. Tours are $10, begin at the Rookery at 543 Cherry Street and end at Grant’s Lounge at 576 Poplar Street. Space is limited, so reserve a spot through RockCandyTours.com. After a Sunday morning breakfast at the H&H Restaurant, where Mama Louise used to feed the Allman Brothers Band, take your music history experience even deeper by visiting The Allman Brothers Band Museum at the Big House, open 11 a.m. until 4 p.m. at 2321 Vineville Avenue. No visit to Macon would be complete without a selfie with the Otis Redding statute, located in Gateway Park at the corner of Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. and Riverside Drive.
The multicultural lineup this year includes Shakey Graves, the Austin, Texas Americana band; Drew Holcomb & the Neighbors, who celebrate ten years together in 2016; and Larkin Poe, led by sisters Megan and Rebecca Lovell, who have spent the year touring with their band and as members of Elvis Costello’s touring band.
Rock bands lighting up stages in the hub of music history include Birmingham’s Lee Bains III & The Glory Fires back for an encore performance; Charleston, South Carolina’s SUSTO; Asheville, North Carolina quintet The Fritz; Jackson, Mississippi’s The Weeks; Boone, North Carolina’s Rainbow Kitten Surprise; Orlando funksters Trae Pierce & the T-Stones; Water Valley, Mississippi’s Water Liars; Greenville, South Carolina’s Brave Baby; and New Orleans’ Motel Radio.
Indie and Americana singer/songwriters on board include New York-based ingénue Frankie Cosmos; Louisiana-bred folk artist Dylan LeBlanc; Nashville-based Aaron Lee Tasjan; Atlanta’s Tedo Stone; Michigan’s Nathan K.; Florida’s Abby Owens; Mississippi’s Andrew Bryant; Birmingham’s Wilder Adkins; and the Water Liars’ Justin Kinkel-Schuster.
Artists based out of Nashville make a strong showing at Bragg Jam including: rock/soul band Alannah Royale; surf rockcandy trio *repeat repeat; soul/dance band Terror Pigeon; grunge pop band Daddy Issues; Americana duo Me and Molly; experimental band Linear Downfall; siren Elise Davis; rock bands Lonely Biscuits and Great Peacock; and “progressive funk rockers” Backup Planet.
Country music has an expanded presence at Bragg Jam this with rising singer/songwriters Josh Thompson; Tyler Hammond; Luke Combs; Travis Denning; Jared Ashley; and Anthony Orio.
Middle Georgia bands showing out for guests this year include: Zale; Floco Torres Big Band; Cult of Riggonia; Rewind Retry; Design Company; Bootz & Katz; Josh Carson Project; Sumilan; Elroy Love; Good Night Alive; African Americana; ma?í; 2LooseSkrews; Kaleigh Courson; Maggie Renfroe; Virginia McKenzie; Charles Davis; The Muddle Jawja Band; Failing Acts of Society; Hindsight; Choir of Babble; Louise Warren; Payton Collier; Owen Bolig; and Griffin Rhythm Section.
From across the state, Athens-area artists participating include Wrenn; Daniel Lee; Cicada Rhythm; The Norm; WANDA; and Foofaraw. Making the trek from Savannah are Triathalon and Sunglow, while performers from Atlanta include: Dank, Wasted Potential Brass Band; Mighty; Donna Hopkins Band; Culture Culture; Poison Coats; Good Thoughts; DIP; and Roadhouse Atlanta.
Patron Passes are available for $75, which includes one ticket to the Patron Party on Friday, July 29 (featuring live music, free food and an open bar) and a ticket to the Concert Crawl (July 30), plus a 2016 Concert Crawl T-Shirt. For ticket info, visit braggjam.org.
History of Bragg Jam
During the summer of 1999, Macon singer/songwriter Brax Bragg was on the brink of something big. He had just recorded a CD with his new band The Buckleys, and they were scheduled to set out on tour. But before hitting the highway with his band, Brax took his baby brother Tate, an accomplished classical guitarist, on a cross-country road trip. While traveling through Texas on July 3, the brothers’ lives were tragically cut short by a car accident.
Back in Macon, friends were reeling at the news of the brothers’ tragic deaths. Russell Walker, a friend of the family and fellow musician, organized an impromptu jam session of local musicians to celebrate and honor the Bragg brothers’ talented lives. The healing power of music began to perpetuate, and a year later, the jam session resumed. “Bragg Jam” had officially been born. By 2003, it was expanded into a city-wide music festival. Two years later, it was incorporated as a non-profit with a board of directors. Today, Bragg Jam has evolved into a full-scaled community arts festival and Macon’s premier music event. What began as an untimely tragedy has found a way to give back to the Macon community. Money raised from Bragg Jam is donated to the Macon’s Ocmulgee Heritage Trail and other local causes in Brax and Tate Bragg’s honor.