MACON, Ga. — Bragg jam is back in Macon this weekend after two years of being postponed due to COVID.
The event is happening this Saturday, July 30, and will feature over 40 bands across seven venues in downtown Macon.
The festival has been going on for over 20 years and is a large part of Macon's music history.
Bragg Jam features a variety of different artists, a lot of whom share a green room and come together no matter what genre or level of fame they have.
J.R. Olive, the president of Bragg Jam Inc., spoke about how bands can interact and come together over the length of the festival and how one goal of the event is to create a shared space for acts.
"Part of Bragg Jam's hospitality model is we have a shared green room and hospitality space for all of our artists," Olive said. "We're trying to provide that opportunity for that more intimate mix and mingle opportunity but also sharing the stage."
Along with creating a shared space, another core part of Bragg Jam's mission is paying every single artist who performs and ensuring that all artists are fairly compensated.
The concert crawl also features artists from outside Macon, which gives the community a chance to see local artists and ones from out of town.
Many artists who perform at the festival go on to make it big and gain notoriety by performing in Macon.
A few popular ones that performed in Macon before breaking out in the larger music sphere are The Zac Brown Band, the Drive By Truckers, The Randall Bramblett band, Margo Price, and Moon Taxi, among many others.
"That's Bragg Jam's bread and butter. We book bands that are on the cusp of something. For instance, we've booked several bands for this year's crawl that, after we booked them, got some exposure on late-night shows and got exposure and had new albums drop. We're at the point where we probably couldn't afford them now," Oliver said.
This year's schedule looks a bit bigger than in the past, featuring more diverse bands and a Hip-hop showcase.
"One thing that the board has taken seriously and intentionally this year is to try and diversify our lineup," Olive said.
"Sometimes Bragg Jam has been criticized for speaking to one audience only, and I think that is a symptom of just where we came from," Olive said. "We've brought on two new venues this year which are both black-owned businesses downtown that we have programmed with a hip hop showcase of local hip hop artists, as well as all black-led talent in those venues."
This expansion allows more artists from different genres and backgrounds to perform and reach a wider audience.
In addition to Bragg Jam, there will also be a family-centered festival called Bragg Fam that will take place in the daytime before the concert crawl begins.
It will be an arts and kids festival fun for the whole family. Olive says building a relationship with families and the event is critical.
"Bragg Jam is definitely more of an adult-themed event, for 18 and up and 21 and up and late night early into the morning," he said. "We definitely wanted to provide an opportunity for families and children to interact with Bragg jam and what we do. So this year, we've rebranded that event as Bragg Fam."
Of course, Bragg Jam would not be possible without the board members and volunteers who help coordinate venues, bands, and logistics.
The staff and board for the event all serve on a volunteer basis and work hard together to make sure the event is the best it can be for the community.
"It's really just a beautiful picture of lots of folks coming together to try to make something cool happen for our city," Olive said.
You can get tickets to Bragg Jam on their website or purchase tickets at the gate on Saturday.
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