Bragg Jam, Middle Georgia’s night of live music, is 24 hours away— 57 bands performing across stages in downtown Macon.
Some of those bands are coming from surrounding states, like Those Darlins from Nashville.
But most of the talent at Bragg Jam is home grown, like The Whigs, who are from Athens .
This is the 15th year of Bragg Jam in Macon, and it’s not like other music festivals.
The proceeds of Bragg Jam go to the Ocmulgee Heritage Trail-- a riverfront recreational walk. Think of it as Macon’s equivalent of the Atlanta Beltline.
But philanthropy isn’t the only thing separating this night of music from other festivals.
Bragg Jam was born of tragedy, inspired by the memory of Macon brothers Brax and Tate Bragg. The brothers decided to take a cross country road trip in 1999. They were killed in a car accident on the way back.
The History: Brax And Tate Bragg
Jamie Weatherford, President of the Bragg Jam board of directors, says Brax Bragg was heavily involved in the downtown revitalization of Macon. Weatherford describes Bragg as a kind of “beat poet” – someone who local Maconites would today describe as a “townie”.
“He had a band. The Buckleys. And they were scheduled to perform a gig,” said Weatherford. “And essentially, unfortunately, when the brothers didn’t make it back, the rest of the band decided to proceed with this gig and eventually, they would call it Bragg Jam.”
A group of forward-thinking friends of Brax’s and the Bragg family would turn the idea of the annual memorial concert into a 501c3 nonprofit with the idea of honoring Brax and Tate. Brax wasn’t the only musician in the Bragg family. Tate was a very well liked, and highly acclaimed classical guitarist.
From the start, Bragg Jam was about two things: music and downtown revitalization. Brax Bragg had a vision for revitalizing the Ocmulgee river corridor and strengthening the downtown Macon area, one of the main reasons the festival focuses so much on the riverfront trail.
“As any urban core goes through its ups and downs, so of course has Macon’s,” said Weatherford. “But Brax was there the whole time. He was hanging out downtown, he and his friends rehearsed downtown. They lived downtown. It was just part of who they were.”
The annual festival brings an economic boom to Middle Georgia. Bragg Jam is the single largest night of receipts for Macon bars, restaurants, and hotels