Interview: Jason Taylor, JamGrass Music Festival

Jamgrass

This weekend will see the first ever JamGrass “On The Road” event take place in Sydney, with the main festival taking over the Thornbury Theatre in Melbourne for three days in October. We thought it was about time to sit down with Jason Taylor from JamGrass to see how both events are shaping up.

Gareth Hugh Evans: Now in it’s third year, this is the first time JamGrass has gone “on the road” with a show in Sydney on the first weekend in August. What was behind the decision to hit the road?

Jason Taylor: We couldn’t be more excited about JamGrass “On the Road”! A few Sydney folk have made it down to the first two years of JamGrass Music Festival and we kept on getting people asking us to do something similar in Sydney. It’s a big step to take JamGrass interstate but we’re very lucky to have teamed up with the Country Roads crew who have been running their monthly event in 2013 and promoting the local bluegrass and alt-country scene in Sydney. It’s great to see that there’s an interstate audience for what we are trying to put together and the music is not only alive in Melbourne but Sydney as well!

GHE: As well as some JamGrass regulars you’ve got a few local bands at the Sydney event including The Steamgrass Boys, The Morrisons, The Green Mohair Suits and The Rusty Spring Syncopators. How does the Sydney bluegrass/jam scene compare to what’s happening in Melbourne?

JT: There seems to be a lot of similarities. Since we’re Melbourne based, it’s unfortunate that we don’t get to check out the Sydney scene more often. But we definitely pay attention to what’s going on and check out the bands when they’re in Melbourne or at various festivals around the country. We’re hoping that JamGrass can be somewhat of a link to integrating these scenes more, not only for the bands but for the audience as well. Of course JamGrass won’t be the only driver, but if we can help connect likeminded bands and music lovers then we think that’s awesome.

GHE: You also have DJ Dylabolical spinning a Jerry Garcia tribute throughout the night. Having a DJ is a little bit of a different direction for you guys (albeit a DJ spinning jamband music) – how do you think the crowd will react?

JT: This is going to be tonnes of fun! I could talk forever about the history of jamband music and how it is related to bluegrass but that’s probably for another day. There is a big connection between The Grateful Dead and traditional music. Jerry Garcia introduced a lot of people to old traditional tunes through bluegrass and The Grateful Dead’s concerts. Jerry was born on 1st August, 1942 and passed away on 9th August, 1995. Since then, the days between have been known as Jerry Week. Just so happens that JamGrass “On The Road” falls on these dates and with people all over the world holding special events, it seemed obvious that we do something for this. DJ Dylabolical will be spinning a range of Jerry-related tunes, of course there will be some Grateful Dead and some of his bluegrass band Old and In The Way but the catalogue of related Jerry Garcia music is so vast that I am sure we’ll be hearing everything from some country tunes to some funky, bootie shakin’ party tunes. Check out Yonder Mountain String Band jamming out on this Grateful Dead classic “They Love Each Other”:

GHE: If the Sydney leg is successful do you think we’ll see more from the JamGrass team here?

JT: We certainly hope so! We’d love to make it an annual event, but as you can imagine it’s a tonne of work to pull it all together so we really need to see a strong turnout in Sydney. So far, everything is looking very positive.

GHE: Obviously this all leads up to the newly expanded three day JamGrass Music Festival in Melbourne in October – how are preparations going for the main event?

JT: Fantastic! The festival is definitely growing and getting a reputation for all the right reasons. We’re working on lots of things from stage designs to lighting and decor that will carry on the character of JamGrass 2012 but elevate the whole experience to a new level for JamGrass 2013. It’s going to get a bit wild. The line-up is already looking incredible with lots of artists Timber and Steel readers would be familiar with and a few they might not be. In fact, there might be a few names on the line-up that most people won’t know … but if previous years are anything to go by, those might just be the artists not to miss!

JamGrass “On The Road” Sydney takes place on Saturday the 3rd August at the Red Rattler Theatre in Marrickville. The JamGrass Music Festival will be at The Thornbury Theatre in Melbourne from the 11th to 13th October. Tickets for both events are available via the official website here

1 Comment

  1. August 2, 2013 at 12:41

    […] “The festival is definitely growing and getting a reputation for all the right reasons. We’re working on lots of things from stage designs to lighting and decor that will carry on the character of JamGrass 2012 but elevate the whole experience to a new level for JamGrass 2013. It’s going to get a bit wild” – Jason Taylor from the JamGrass Music Festival chats to Gareth Hugh Evans. Details here […]


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