Several hissing lawns contributors hopped on a bus with other Savannah music enthusiasts for a fantastic trip to the 15th Annual Bragg Jam in Macon on Saturday. Our friends at MusicFile Productions/Savannah Stopover/Revival Fest organized the daylong excursion, which was also supported in various ways by Spanish Moss Charters & Tours, The 5 Spot, Georgia Music Foundation, and the Community Foundation of Central Georgia.
We climbed aboard the tricked out bus at 11:30 a.m. and didn’t return to Savannah until 5 a.m. — a long day, but a really fulfilling one. Bragg Jam is definitely worth the trip.
When we got to Macon, a few folks attended a screening of the new documentary The Ballad of Shovels and Rope, but most of us went to The Big House — The Allman Brothers Band Museum. If you’re at all interested in the Allman Brothers or in Georgia music history, you need to go there the next time you’re anywhere close to Macon.
But then it was time for the main event: the Bragg Jam concert crawl, which began in the late afternoon and lasted until 2 a.m., with 57 bands performing in 14 different venues. Most of the venues were in easy walking distance, and Macon allowed outdoor drinking from plastic cups for this one night only. Of course, there was no way to see anywhere near all the acts, but the proximity and quality certainly kept me on the move so that I could sample as many as possible.
Many Savannahians started with Colonel Bruce Hampton & Madrid Express at historic Grant’s Lounge, a divey bar on Poplar Street. The place was packed by showtime, and Colonel Bruce sounded as good as ever.
Then a few of us made it to the upstairs stage sponsored by Revival Fest at The 567 Center for Renewal on Cherry Street, an all ages venue that sort of ended up as my home base for the event. Tha Hugs were first up — a solid young rock band — and then we headed across the street for the heavier stuff from Madre Padre at The Wall, before heading back to the main stage at the 567 Center for The Apache Relay, an up-and-coming band from Nashville.
And off to The Hummingbird Taproom for Lee Bains III & The Glory Fires, who have been thrilling audiences and impressing critics, especially since the release of their album Dereconstructed.