As July approaches in Macon, there's a buzz… no, a hum… or a song going around about the excitement of the Bragg Jam Concert Crawl. As the President of the Volunteer-based Bragg Jam Board and a long-time Bragg Jam-mer, I’d like to consider myself an expert in how to Bragg Jam. So, don’t fret (bah dum cha), I’ll guide you through this journey and we’ll have rockin’ time together!
First, some background. During the summer of 1999, Macon singer/songwriter Brax Bragg was on the brink of something big. He had just recorded a CD with his new band the Buckleys, and they were scheduled to set out on tour. But before hitting the highway with his band, Brax took his baby brother Tate, an accomplished classical guitarist, on a cross-country road trip. While traveling through Texas on July 3, the brothers’ lives were tragically cut short by a car accident.
Back in Macon, friends were reeling at the news of the brothers’ tragic deaths. Russell Walker, a friend of the family and fellow musician, organized an impromptu jam session of local musicians to celebrate and honor the Bragg brothers’ talented lives. The healing power of music began to perpetuate, and a year later, the jam session resumed. “Bragg Jam” had officially been born. By 2003, it was expanded into a city-wide music festival. Two years later, it was incorporated as a non-profit with a board of directors. Today, Bragg Jam has evolved into a full-scaled community arts festival and Macon’s premier music event
First and foremost, you must have your plan. Go Grab the Music Issue of Macon Magazine and flip to the Bragg Jam Concert schedule and cut it out. Go to Bragg Jam’s website (braggjam.org) or Facebook and print out a couple of extra copies. Go ahead and mark all over your schedule and make your plan. Circle and star the bands you must see, but also take this time to check out the Bragg Jam Spotify Playlist (https://open.spotify.com/playlist/6pKC64QchMS0GltpFiI4rG?si=66824022bb0c44cf). Get to know some of the names you might not have heard of, find your new favorite musician, and add them to your plan. Coming from fellow Bragg Jam experts, consider how long you want to stay and see each act. You may want to stop at one location for the first half of their set and then pop on over to another location to catch the back end of their set.
Go ahead and buy your tickets in advance. Decide what all you might want out of your ticket. General admission will get you into all the shows, but you could elevate your night by getting a VIP ticket which gives you full access to the VIP Lounge. The VIP Lounge comes equipped with free drinks and the Signature Bragg Jam Cocktail, a 2023 Bragg Jam Concert Crawl t-shirt, private bathrooms, and an air-conditioned space to call home base for you and all your friends. Or maybe, you want to get a general admission ticket, but you want to get the t-shirt as an add-on. Oh, and don’t forget the kids! Go ahead and add on your Bragg Fam ticket so you can take the kids to the Society Garden in the afternoon to get them good and warn out before you leave them with the sitter.
Consider your night, you should really think about booking your stay at Hotel 45 so you can just walk from the last venue you go to on Concert Crawl night straight into a luxurious downtown hotel room. It will also make for a great space to regather your crew in the air conditioning, rinse off, change your clothes in a central location to the crawl. As a Bragg Jam sponsor, Hotel 45 is offering a special Bragg Jam rate for the night, so Bragg Jam like a rockstar and book your stay today by clicking below! Book here!
Additionally, leading up to Bragg Jam, the inaugural Great Macon Baking Week will be held from July 23 - July 30! Plan to come a few days early and try delicious baked goods from restaurants all across town and you have the chance to win exclusive swag. Be sure to vote for your favorite creation as well! Click here to learn more!
One of the most important things to remember with Bragg Jam is that you hydrate early and eat food day of. It’s a long day, and we want you to be the best you through the whole day. Drink a lot of water the night before! I know, I know, it’s Friday night, you wanna start your Bragg Jam weekend early and have some cocktails and beer and that’s fine. Just remember to drink enough water to get fully hydrated. The concert crawl is in the heat of the summer, you’re going to sweat A LOT dancing on the dance floor.
Almost as important is that you eat on July 29. Wake up and eat a delicious and filling breakfast. Head downtown and get carbo-loaded at Macon Bagels. Or go to Loom and grab lunch at Hotel 45. Get your vibes tuned to the music and go to the legendary H&H. If you’re planning on going to Bragg Fam, grab lunch at Ingleside Village Pizza or the new taco truck at Society Garden. As the night goes on, your opportunities are endless for grabbing some grub. Piedmont, Ocmulgee Brew Pub, Fall Line, Kudzu, La Bella, Oliver’s, the Rookery, Fatty’s, the Downtown Macon world is your oyster.
You’ve done all your planning, you’re hydrated, and you have a full stomach. Now it’s time to PLAY! Start the party at Society Garden, the new location of Bragg Fam. Bring the kids, or just come to grab the Society Garden’s signature Bragg Jam cocktail and here some music. Bragg Fam starts at noon and there will be a DJ and the musical stylings of one of Macon’s own, Kelly Dixon. Kids can bounce around on a bounce house and waterslide, they can also tie dye their very own Bragg Jam t-shirt as well as many other kids’ crafts. Once the kids are worn out, go ahead and head to Central Ticketing at the Blacksmith Shop (665 Poplar Street) and pick up your wristbands. Trust me you’ll thank me later for getting the VIP ticket, that cool place to call home base comes in clutch. It’s time to start your musical journey and there’s no better way to truly get into Bragg Jam than to start you night listening to the Buckleys play at Grant’s Lounge. It's a Bragg Jam tradition that Brax Bragg’s band kicks off the night. Your Bragg Jam tickets gets you in all the Bragg Jam venues to see all the amazing acts so start referring to your plan and enjoy the music! At some point you’ll hear the rumblings of Streetline Percussion marching down the streets. Take in that environment and the kids that work so hard to perfect their craft. Don’t get FOMO, make sure to check out our top-billed acts, Shovels and Rope, Lady Wray, and Drew Green.
Crawl, skip, walk, dance, hop from venue to venue. Give each venue some LOVE and experience the vibe in each place. All of our venues put so much work into giving you an unforgettable experience so soak it in! Make sure to catch the headliner, Shovels and Rope, at Capitol Theatre. Give some love to one of the early acts playing that you might not have heard of.
Make a new friend. Catch up with an old friend. Take a photo with those friends in the photobooth on Poplar Street. Let your spirit free and fall in love with downtown Macon and all it has to offer you.