HUNTINGTON - The Jewel City Jam will celebrate its fifth year at Harris Riverfront Park in Huntington, kicking off the region's camping, music-festival season this weekend.
The 2019 edition of #JCJAM5 will be held Friday and Saturday, April 26-27, at Harris Riverfront Park, with 17 American-roots music acts that run the gamut from folk, blues, old-time, swing jazz, rockabilly and Americana to country and jamgrass. Bands hail from Florida, Ohio, Tennessee, Kentucky, Virginia and West Virginia.
Confirmed acts for the #JCJAM5 will be Jerron "Blind Boy" Paxton (both nights), David Mayfield Parade, Strung Like A Horse, The String Assassins, Rob McNurlin and The Beatnik Cowboys, Laid Back Country Picker and Honey, String Therapy, Big Rock and the Candyass Mountain Boys, Of The Dell, The 1937 Flood, Nip and Tuck, The Independent State, Micah Scott, Mike Gray and Tim Lancaster. There's free camping, and coolers are allowed at the festival.
Advance tickets are $30 for both days and are on sale at https://www.facebook.com/jewelcityjamboree/. Tickets are free for children 12 and under and are $10 a day for Marshall students with an ID.
Festival organizer and retired Huntington firefighter and former councilman David Ball said they've moved the festival, which used to be on Memorial Day weekend, to spring so the two-day festival would be rocking on the river when Marshall University and other colleges are still in session.
"Originally we had the festival in June to try and capture that Appalachian Uprising crowd, but there were so many festivals that time of year we've moved it up, particularly to attract the Marshall crowd," Ball said. "The Marshall community is so much of the city, and that is an age group that we want to come out to the festival and to keep the music alive. Some of the bands we've got, like Strung Like A Horse (punk grass out of Chattanooga), are always hitting up college cities, and these guys are really hitting it hot right now."
Paddy King, the fiddler for Strung Like A Horse - playing its third year of the Jewel City Jam - will play not only with SLAH, but with nearly every band. King, who already plays with SLAH, String Assassins and Nip and Tuck (both hometown South Florida bands), will be an artist in residence, jumping onstage and guesting with most of the bands.
"At Suwanee here in Florida, they have an artist in residence who comes out and plays with just about everybody, and since (King's) already playing in three bands, he thought that would be a lot of fun," Ball said.
Ball said he's also excited to bring back Paxton, the 29-year-old Watts, California, native The Wall Street Journal called "virtually the only music-maker of his generation - playing guitar, banjo, piano and violin, among other implements - to fully assimilate the blues idiom of the 1920s and '30s, the blues of Bessie Smith and Lonnie Johnson."
Paxton performed at the festival two years ago, and has also performed a couple times for Friends of Old Time Music and Dance concerts in Charleston.
"He has so many friends throughout the river valleys of Charleston and Huntington," Ball said. "He loves to perform with anyone. If you want to play, he is ready. He is that kind of guy. There is no one that he meets that doesn't walk away fascinated with his skill, his friendliness and his upbeat self. He is an amazing person, and we are so very fortunate to get him back."
If you go
The Jewel City Jam will take place April 26-27 at Harris Riverfront Park in Huntington.
The following events are planned:
Friday, April 26
4 p.m. Gates open
4:50 p.m. Mike Gray
5 p.m. Big Rock and the Candyass Mountain Boys
6 p.m. Rob McNurlin and The Beatnik Cowboys
7 p.m. Nip and Tuck
8 p.m. Blind Boy Paxton
9:15 p.m. String Therapy
10:15 p.m. Screening of the documentary "Chico" about Laid Back Country Picker, followed by a live performance of LBCP and Honey
11:15 p.m. Of The Dell
Saturday, April 27
3 p.m. Gates open
3:50 p.m. Tim Lancaster
4 p.m. Independent State
4:45 p.m. Micah Scott
5:30 p.m. 1937 Flood
6:30 p.m. Blind Boy Paxton
7:30 p.m. The String Assassins
8:45 p.m. Strung Like a Horse
10 p.m. The David Mayfield Parade
Go online at https://www.jewelcityjam.com/ to find out more about the #JCJAM5, and read more about the festival in Thursday's Weekend section of The Herald-Dispatch.