Why Should I Care About Live Music?
Music has been an important factor of human existence since the birth of language, and even before when we were making noises to express joy, pain, fear or triumph.
These animal sounds that grew into language were often turned into music. At its heart, music has always had a sacred place in our consciousness, and the need for music has been printed into our very DNA. As humans we have a compulsory need to tell stories. The first professional musicians were not only entertainers, but oftentimes were also holy men, historians, political protesters and philosophers. The role of musicians in ancient culture is well documented. Even with today’s plethora of ways to communicate, music is still one of the most powerful ways of transmitting ideas and inspiration.
So why care about live music? Because it is a primal force for sharing what it is like to be human and an important way of sharing your unique culture with others!
In Macon we have the great privilege to be the home of some incredible musical legends. It’s the home of artists that, with our help, can be legends in our lifetime. So take some time and cash and go out to see some live music right here in Macon!
Here are just a few of my favorite venues to see the cream of the crop of Macon and Middle Georgia music:
First up, if you haven’t been there already, you should check out the Library Ballroom. The venue is located at 652 Mulberry Street in the Old Macon Library building. The facility consists of a grand library ballroom, reception room, downstairs foyer, and a warming kitchen. It offers an inviting atmosphere with original hardwood flooring, richly stained wood accents, and a 40 foot wooden cathedral ceiling in the ballroom. Cherry wood furnishings encase a full sound system for the ballroom. The building is now handicap accessible with a newly installed elevator and can accommodate 200 or more guests (Source Quotation: LibraryBallroom.com).
During the 1960’s, the Ballroom, known then as the College Discotheque, was a favorite venue for local musicians to play. It's been 45 years since the Macon nightclub sold $1 tickets for music fans to hear a new band under local management, known as the Allman Brothers Band. The Allmans moved to Macon to be close to their manager, Phil Walden, and his record label, Capricorn Records. Decades later, fans have commemorated the legendary Southern rockers' arrival in Macon with a plaque outside the Library Ballroom that marks the May 2, 1969 concert as the Allman Brothers' first paid gig. Several other Capricorn Records bands also played in the Grand Ballroom over the years. The Ballroom now plays host to private events and a great local/regional cadre of Georgia musical artists on First Fridays in downtown Macon. (Source Quotation: LibraryBallroom.com).
Another great venue doing some Macon music magic on First Fridays is Gallery West.
Kirk and Kirsten West have an amazing art gallery (located just a few doors down from my recording studio) at 447 Third Street in downtown Macon. Not only are they showcasing some of the photos Kirk has amassed from his 40 year history with the Allman Brothers Band, but they are bringing a great selection of local artists to perform on First Fridays and other times throughout the year. On June 19th, they will be hosting a benefit for local musician, and my good buddy, Byrd Wyatt (I’ll be performing at the event).
If festivals are more your thing, Macon plays host to some good ones, but coming up in July is one of my favorites. Yeah, you guessed it - Bragg Jam!
Bragg Jam Music, Arts, and Community Festival takes place on the last Saturday in July, and it is one of Middle Georgia’s ultimate summer music festivals. The attraction features over 40 bands that take the stage and put on one unforgettable night of music.
But the Bragg Jam Music, Arts, & Community Festival isn’t just for live music lovin’ night owls. During the day, Bragg Jam’s Arts @ The Park hosts a free daytime event where families are invited to create, perform, and play in the heart of the city. Arts @ The Park features art, food, and beverage vendors, live music and community performances.
As the sun goes down, Bragg Jam’s signature Concert Crawl is geared up to feature live music performances at a variety of Macon venues with a free trolley service throughout the night. There are several all-age performance venues that are smoke-free and family friendly. Admission to the Concert Crawl is $20 for an armband that allows you access into all participating venues. What began as an impromptu jam session has evolved into Middle Georgia’s ultimate summer music, arts, and community festival. From Grammy winners to national, regional and local touring acts, artists from every genre have made their mark on the Bragg Jam Music, Arts, & Community Festival, which has now donated over $150,000 of its proceeds back to the local community in honor of its namesakes.
Please note these are just a few of the outstanding venues we have here in Macon, so go out there and hear some live music. You might even discover a soon to be musical star in the making and you can say: “I knew them when!”
But, seriously, the stories we share through music are too important to let die. And they will if we don’t support the artists that make up that ambrosia we call music.
Don’t see a great Macon musical venue listed in this article? What are some of your favorite musical venues? Drop me an email and we’ll try to feature them.
Guest Gatekeeper Joey Stuckey