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Bragg Jam returns and downtown Macon businesses hope for economic boost

Gary Wheat with Visit Macon says the festival draws thousands.

MACON, Ga. — The last time the music of Bragg Jam echoed through downtown Macon, it was 2019.

When COVID-19 hit, the festival went on pause. Saturday, July 30, the festival will be back. 

The festival has been "Macon" things interesting in Central Georgia for years, and its return is big for some downtown businesses.

Over 20 years ago, Macon musicians came together for the first ever Bragg Jam. It was in memory of Brax and Tate Bragg, who died in a Texas car accident in 1999.

Since the first jam session, it's grown into a city-wide music festival centered in downtown Macon. 

Gary Wheat with Visit Macon says Bragg Jam draws in thousands from all over the state.

After a few years off, Wheat says they're not quite sure how many people will come, but they're looking forward to a great weekend of music.

"We're hopeful that the weather will cooperate and give us a little breeze here and there, and knock down a little bit of this summer heat," Wheat said. 

"We're excited to see the crowds come back and see the venues be able to host some of these artists," he continued.

Will Shuman is a bartender at Bearfoot Tavern. Bragg Jam is part of the reason he got his job.

"It was actually the first time I ever came to this bar. My sophomore year. Then I wound up working here," Shuman said.

He says they're ready for a busy weekend.

"Comes along once a year, and it gets really busy. We love it. We'd rather it stay busy than sit around doing nothing," Shuman said.

It takes a lot of preparation, Shuman says.

"Stocking up a bunch of stuff. Getting a lot of kegs in, we order a lot of beer," Shuman said. "Just preparing for that crowd. It draws in out-of-towners, people from everywhere. We're definitely putting a lot of thought into it."

Things kick off at Grant's Lounge next Saturday with The Buckleys at 5:15. Music starts at 5:45 at the Capitol Theatre, Crazy Bull parking lot, JBA, Brooke Haven Lounge and Serenity. Things start up on the Crazy Bull main stage at 6:15.

General admission tickets are $40, and $45 at the door. VIP tickets will run you $150.

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