HEAD JAMZ PREVIEW
Contributing Writer : Bryan Flanagan
“You know about Head Jamz,” asked the nice older lady behind the dusty wood counter.
“That’s what them dopers do,”(while making a noodling type motion) responded the wild old man from out of nowhere.
That was the exchange during my first visit to Red River Campground in Adams, TN (about 45 minutes from home for me). I have been reading Roving Festival Writer for a while now and thought it would be fun to add some coverage of smaller festivals like Head Jamz(www.headjamzfestival.com). Being my first time trying to cover a festival, I am a bit nervous so I decided to make a preview trip to the campground to get a solid start. With headliners Emmitt-Nershi Band, Ivan Neville’s Dumpstaphunk, Cornmeal and The New Mastersounds, the festival is set up with some great groups and seems to have a nice mix of Bluegrass, Southern Rock/Funk and Electronic/jazz sounds each day. In it’s 2nd year, Head Jamz is definitely improving on the music end of things, but after some severe flooding in Middle Tennessee this year, the Red River Campground seems a bit overwhelmed.
My wife, genius cousin and her husband (a real life Macgyver) will be heading up bright and early to the campground Friday Sept. 3 as the gates are opening at 8 am. Camping is first come first served so it seems like the best idea is to get there first thing. If you are looking to stay cooler, there are quite a few heavily shaded spots along the river. For a more open feel, there are some grassy areas that appear to be campsites, too. The floods in early May took out many of the fire pits and grills so it didn’t look like there were a lot of fully set up campsites (picnic table, grill, fire pit). This is essential for us as we have never all camped together, and we will be cooking everything for each meal. Hopefully our Macgyver will come through in the clutch for us. I like to have everything with me, but in case the car gets too full, there is wood for sale at the General Store and a Dollar General Store about 1 mile from the campground. In the worst case scenario, we could get food or supplies from there (like a can opener, which my wife forgot to pack on out last camping trip!). With a biker rally the weekend before, the campground will either be ready to rock or likely to fall apart. I guess you could say I am cautiously optimistic.
Each day the music starts early so I’m thinking there will be one stage for all the acts throughout the day. A lot of folk seem to like this for the ability to not miss any bands and not have to make the decision of which band you want to see more. The multiple stage set-up usually fails for me, and I choose the wrong stage (see Mutaytor for example), so I’m hoping I’m right about the single stage. Personally this is a great festival for my music tastes as I get to see some faster Bluegrass, good Southern Rock ([Nashville’s Own] Old Union and The Captain Midnite Band) and some live electronic/funk/jazz music using instruments as opposed to a DJ, which is a nice change. Looking to hear some covers? Check out Hyryder, who has been known to do some Dead and Phish. It will be interesting to see 3 different groups that I have heard but not seen before (Future Rock, The Twin Cats, Zoogma) doing late night sets, listed to start at 12:30-1 AM until ?. Another band I am interested in is playing Friday afternoon, Charles Butler and Associate’s. Charles plays in a Nashville based band that I am a fan of (The One and Only Bill Davis & his Kick-Ass Friends , www.myspace.com/theoneandonlybilldavis) so I will be making a point to check out that set. It seems through the pictures from last year’s Head Jamz, people were able to bring beer and alcohol on site, which I will be verifying ahead of time. From the looks of the campground, the whole festival happens on not much more than a couple acres so if you’re looking for privacy, good luck. If you’re looking to share some great music with new people, you won’t be disappointed.
Something I like about Head Jamz is the location, right on the Red River. The group I am jamming with has already signed up for an optional canoe trip, and I got my hands on a huge floatie to chill on during the ride. There’s also a disc golf course that is built on site by a great local company, Cloud Nine Disc Golf (www.cloud9discgolf.com). If you have a little extra time, the Bell Witch Cave is approx. 2 miles from the campground and seems to be worth checking out. (www.bellwitchcave.com) Also nearby on the same weekend is the Robertson County Fair in Springfield, TN (approx. 13 miles from campground on Hwy 41), so be careful if traveling through there.
Oh yeah, and if you see a small black goat with a blue collar, his name is Billy, and he thinks he’s a dog.