As Columbia’s Jam Room Music Competition returns after COVID hiatus it brings ‘our greatest lineup’ | Live performance and Music Information


The final time the Jam Room Music Competition was held, it’s hanging how completely different Columbia — and the competition’s providing — was.

When it was held in 2019, it was months earlier than the COVID-19 pandemic waylaid reside music occasions for almost all of the following two years. Throughout that point, town’s Primary Avenue has remodeled with new eating places, bars and companies coming as outdated ones have shuttered.

At that final competition, the unbiased music occasion was booked by Phill Blair, co-owner of The Whig and WECO Bottle and Biergarten, and headlined by Waxahatchee, a then-up-and-coming folks indie musician who has since reached average ranges of fame and acclaim, and the lineup was buoyed past her by a number of regional and native musicians like Babe Membership, Stagbriar and Cayla Fralick.

Now three years later, the return of the Oct. 1 competition comes with what two organizers stated could also be one of the best lineup ever — a shocking consequence for a free music competition on town’s Primary Avenue that’s primarily funded by means of public taxpayer cash.

“There was by no means any speak of chucking up the sponge,” stated Jay Matheson, the founder and government director of the competition.

The October competition is headlined by various rock outfit Clap Your Fingers Say Yeah, the punk rock group Titus Andronicus, and the revered jazz group The Solar Ra Arkestra. In the meantime, the lineup is crammed out by a batch of artists from the encompassing area and past.

A return present for Charleston’s The Shaniqua Brown; New York Metropolis’s Titans to Tachyons; Mourning [A] BLKstar and different South Carolina acts Expensive Blanca and Bailey Street Band around the competition out.

Matheson, who owns the eponymous Columbia recording studio The Jam Room, defined a late dose of additional funding (headline acts price anyplace between $10,000 and $20,000, he stated) allowed them to guide The Solar Ra Arkestra after the preliminary lineup announcement that was absent that group. With them on board, the lineup is powerful, he stated.

“I feel this lineup would’ve been on par with any of our greatest lineups, however I feel that is (now) our greatest lineup, as a result of we’ve the additional cash to spend,” he stated.


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The competition’s return comes with the group’s board shuffling members closely because the final iteration. Matheson stated now individuals like David Stringer, who based music weblog SceneSC, and Jeremy Polly, a College of South Carolina professor, have stepped in.

Among the many new faces serving to is Trey Lofton, who dealt with the reserving for the bands.

Lofton, a former booker of the White Mule in 5 Factors and The Elbow Room, took over for Blair as he took a step again. For the booker — who had not attended the competition prior however adopted it all through its 11-year historical past — he tried to construct out a lineup shut in theme to prior years.

That effort started in earnest in February, when Lofton had his first assembly with the board of the competition. By the following month, he offered them with a 75-band-strong checklist of potential acts to play the competition.

Whereas his work on contacting them and negotiating started virtually instantly, Lofton stated the lineup wasn’t finalized till about three weeks in the past.

“I undoubtedly didn’t wish to be radical, I didn’t are available in with any agenda. I type of bought a way for the way it was funded, what sort of finances I’m working with, how can we do that,” Lofton stated. “They appeared captivated with all of it.”

To Lofton, the Jam Room Music Competition’s free admission would ostensibly imply a worse lineup than this. But he feels it is corresponding to festivals that cost roughly $35 a ticket.

“I feel this exhibits with accountable spending and a volunteer board, you may actually put one thing collectively if you wish to,” he stated.

Because the competition returns, Matheson stated he hoped its future would see it stay a various musical occasion, whereas rising its high quality by means of sponsorships.

The director, who based the competition to commemorate his recording studio’s twenty fifth anniversary, hoped it might retain a “roots” vibe to it no matter what occurred.

“It is not that we don’t just like the bands that we bought, however it might be rather a lot simpler to guide if we did have extra money,” Matheson concluded. “We’re not attempting to make something too grandiose.”



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