I’ll never forget my first Some Kind of Jam (SKOJ). At the tender age of 19, it was my first music festival, and honestly, it was a shit weekend. With a case of beer on the passenger side and beneath my friends feet, we nearly escaped getting pulled over on our way there. We locked the keys in the Jeep within the first twenty minutes of getting to the venue, gave up on any hope of AAA coming to our rescue within the first hour, all resulting in the owner taking a cinder block to the window before we even had our tents set up. On top of it all, I missed almost all of the music Saturday night being stuck somewhere between a “I don’t belong here” and “these people don’t like me here” loop. Oh, how naive: to think anyone knew who I was or was lacking enough fun to give a care. I had so much yet to realize about this special collection of accepting and carefree people.
Don’t get me wrong, between those first, terrible, awful memories, there was some fun—okay, maybe a lot of fun—so I came back. I’ve come back twelve times in the past four years, to be exact
(have it be documented here that this is far from a brag compared to other Jibber-Patrons).
Jibberjazz (JJ) has successfully built a community made up by our own, hand-picked families. Three times a year, we are given the privilege to return to our beloved fairgrounds to peel off our skin and let the little party beasts inside run amuck and rage. As more local festivals pop up around eastern and central PA—and as excited about this as we are—there is something special about Jibberjazz that keeps them in a constant motion of ever-expanding production.
Here are a few reasons to thank Jon and Erin Sten for their poster child Production Company:
Schuylkill Haven is our Music Mecca
The use of a semi-permanent location gives Jibberjazz a rooted home. In the past five years, approximately 70% of outdoor JJ events have been hosted at our Schuylkill H(e)aven Fairgrounds. Coming back to familiar festival grounds makes patrons feel like they’re returning to their parallel-home to hug their parallel-families, all in a comfy parallel universe. A universe where everyone smiles beneath tie-dyed skies and fire dancers perform below stars that are, too, spinning sacred patterns just for us. Jibberjazz has given us a second home, and there truly is no other place quite like it.
Uncovering and Discovering new Music
Music—it’s arguably the most important component to a music festival. Bands such as Pigeons Playing Ping Pong, the Motet, Tauk, and Twiddle have all made a pit stop at Jibberjazz before growing into their summer schedules which are consisting more of tier 1, brand-name festivals. Being able to catch these acts in a more intimate environment, and then
to watch them continue into the limelight, is a unique experience.
On the flip side, Jibberjazz does an outstanding job of giving exposure to raw and sometimes overlooked talent in its surrounding areas. JJ captures the beauty that small festivals hold over the larger ones—allowing musical acts to reach out and dip into a fan base, and then go on and develop a serious relationship with them. Jibberjazz has also become a foster home to local favorites that fans can always count on catching, such as The Big Dirty, Dr. Slothclaw, Knitebitch, and Still Hand String Band.
Fueling Friends and Family
For a festival of their size, I’m proud to assume that Jibberjazz has one of the largest, most loyal patron bases. Something that ties in with their fixed fairground home, faces also begin to become familiar. Friendships form and families follow. Our festival families are rendered just as dear as blood, and you bet they’re going to give you shit if you’re pussing out of SKOJ (but, you know, it’s only because they love you, and they care about your happiness just as much as their own).
Rain, Shine, or even Three Feet of Snow: the Show Goes ON!
The 2015 season in particular proved just how resistant JJ festivals (and fans) were to the elements. Madsummer Meltdown (Jul, 2015) was met with borderline hurricane conditions, forcing all music to be held within the indoor jam barn. Jibberjazz made sure to keep us all moving as patrons raced each other on giant wall projections of Mario Kart and danced along side The Party Band’s big, brass performance.
But before the torrential conditions of Madsummer
Meltdown, the snow catastrophe of this past Sound Summit (Jan, 2016) would be the first memory to come to my mind on this topic. Patrons who were dedicated (or maybe crazy) enough to do so drove in a still-growing foot and a half of snow to reach their festival destination. As cold as it was, the gathering of smiles warmed the building a bit more than what I believe the heaters had worked to do. Janelle Vibes lulled an afternoon crowd, giving them a chance to relax and appreciate the fact that they did in fact make it to the show, although conditions were far from giving.
Like Madsummer, festival coordinators and performers wanted to go beyond to make up for what uncontrollable circumstances were thrown upon them (this time, in the form of three feet of snow). Wes of Mystery Fyre (MF) held witnesses captive with a magic show in the middle of their act, which was followed by a super-jam where members of The Big Dirty and Whiskeyhickon Boys joined the MF boys on stage.
Jibberjazz is for lovers (yes, even for you singles) because Jibberjazz turns us all into lovers: lovers of our friends, lovers of the music, lovers of art, and lovers of the little parallel world that we help shape and create every magical weekend that it comes around.
Experience Jibberjazz for yourself and return to home September 30th to October 2nd at the 9th annual Meeting of the Minds festival located at, you guessed it, our home of Schuylkill Haven, PA.