Thoughts on the The Jam Room Music Festival Lineup

In addition to drawing your attention to what is going to be an awesome free music concert in Columbia on October 13th (see the full lineup here), I also want to stop for a moment and recognize what is so different about this festival than what we typically see in our (mostly) beloved city.

Too often festival organizers in Columbia fall back on 90s rock radio mainstays or safe “classic” choices (I’m thinking George Clinton at New Years) rather than trying for anything remotely current. The upcoming Famously Hot Music Festival’s rock line-up is an extreme example (the country and electronic days don’t share these problems), as it’s stacked with a collection of bands that hasn’t been relevant in over a decade.

The Hold Steady and Justin Townes Earle, by contrast, are contemporary artists whose records and performances have been the talk of the music-loving world over the last few years. The Hold Steady have been championed as “the best bar band in America” with their heady mix of Springsteen and the Replacements, while Earle has emerged as a singer/songwriter with a powerful stage presence and the rare ability to move seamlessly in and out of a wide variety of roots styles without breaking a sweat.

Secondly, the festival’s careful selection of supporting acts astutely balances current local buzz bands (Can’t Kids, Say Brother) with group’s important to the history of the Jam Room (B.O.A, The Woggles) and some of the most critically-acclaimed regional acts around (Dead Confederate, Cusses).

In short, this is the kind of music festival Columbia needs (and deserves). Hope to see you out there!

The Hold Steady - Southtown Girls

Justin Townes Earle - Harlem River Blues