Here’s an alert: Macon does not die during the summer. Mercer students who remain in town are aware of this, however for those who go home they may not be aware that one of the largest music events Macon hosts each year takes place during July. Bragg Jam started off as an informal jam session between friends to honor the lives of Brax and Tate Bragg, two brothers who were killed in a car crash in 1999.
Bragg Jam has grown in several years to host numerous bands all over the city of Macon with stages ranging from downtown to North Macon as far as Bass Road. The 2013 Bragg Jam even saw the closing of a portion of Cherry Street for the first time. Everett Verner, Bragg Jam’s marketing chair tells us “ we expect that over 3750 were in attendance”. The music festival is also a benefit for the Friends of the Ocmulgee Heritage Trail, and Verner states that they are still calculating how much will be donated to the charity. Past Bragg Jam’s have donated over $150,000 in revenue to the Ocmulgee Heritage Trail.
“ NewTown has been thrilled to watch Bragg Jam grow into such a successful event. We ‘incubated’ Bragg Jam in the early years helping with the funding needed to get an event of this magnitude off the ground,” states NewTown Macon Executive Vice President Laura Schofield. “ The family and friends of the Bragg brothers decided that donating proceeds to Ocmulgee Heritage Trail would be a fitting legacy, and over the years almost $100,000 has been donated to help extend the Trail to the over 11 miles that it is today. In fact, the most recent gift of $11,000 from the 2012 proceeds helped to close a funding gap on the trail extension through Riverside Cemetery.
Schofield continued to say “ We look forward to watching Bragg Jam and the Ocmulgee Heritage Trail continue to grow and are honored that we can help keep the memory of Tate and Brax Bragg alive.” This year’s Bragg Jam grew to feature over 50 bands on 15 stages. The acts featured ranged from up and coming hip hop artist Elhae to the established Floco Torres, who gave an electrifying performance which roused the crowds, to rising country star Jason Ashley whose father in law has opened the new country bar “The Crazy Bull” on Second Street. That venue opened especially for Bragg Jam and will finish its construction in the coming weeks.
Also performing were other regular acts to Macon such as Megan Jean and the KFB, who sang their own songs such as “These Bones” and even did their own version of Salt n Peppa’s “Shoop”, which you can find on YouTube. Board member Leila Regan-Porter stated “this year every band at Grant’s Lounge has a member related to a Capricorn Records band. Lamar Williams Jr. is the son of second Allman Brother Band bassist Lamar Williams, and his band is comprised of Macon’s Scott Rainwater and Pat Yoe, who have been playing in Macon bands for years.” Thomas and The Believers will be returning to Macon to perform for Weaver’s Weekend at The Crazy Bull on August 24th. Another act you can catch again is Mercer’s own Burgess Brown is one of the members of the band Woolfolk, which performed to a standing room only crowd at The 567. Woolfolk’s Facebook page describes their style as “neo designer folk rock”.
Bragg Jam isn’t just about the evening music performances, there are also events during the day of the concerts. Bragg Jam Arts @ The Park opened up the Georgia Sports Hall of Fame. Kids of all ages could experience booths with paintings, balloon animals, as well as an instrument petting zoo with members of the Macon Youth Orchestra. Atlanta based King of Pops also made an appearance with their all-natural popsicles.
The night before the event showcased the Bragg Jam Patron’s Party at The Armory Ballroom with catering by The Moonhanger Group. Live music was provided by 80’s cover band Electric Avenue.
Note: This article originally misstated the amount of money donated to help close the funding gap for the Ocmulgee Heritage Trail in 2012. It has been updated to correct this misinformation.