The Jam Room Music Festival is a day of free concerts at Main and Hampton streets in downtown Columbia.
Headlining the festival this year is Guided by Voices, a lo-fi indie rock group known for its energetic live shows, which typically involve alcohol-fueled antics such as lead singer Robert Pollard’s leaps and microphone flings.
“Alcohol-fueled” isn’t conjecture; the band’s onstage drinking – particularly Pollard’s – is something of a legend.
Last year, Pollard told the Denver Post about his pre-show warmup: “I do the ‘Bob Pollard Stationary 30-Minute Workout,’ ” he said. “It involves stretching, a few push-ups, jumping jacks, leg kicks, squats and running in place. … A shot or two of tequila and about a dozen light pilsners, beverage-wise.”
GBV, as the band’s fans call it, has even had a beer named after one of its songs. Sam Calagione founded Dogfish Head Brewery in 1994, frequently listening to GBV’s “Bee Thousand.” In 2014, he introduced BEER Thousand – which, unsurprisingly, Pollard stipulated should have “high drinkability for many, many hours.”
Despite his alcohol consumption, Pollard is highly productive, celebrating his 100th album release earlier this year. In addition to his GBV albums and numerous solo albums, Pollard has participated in an extensive list of collaborations.
And music isn’t his only form of artistic release. His collages – which he’s been making since before he began writing songs – have served as album covers and been shown in art exhibitions.
Other bands in the lineup
As in the past, the bands’ schedules are staggered to let audiences hear as much music as possible. And the festival prides itself on its eclectic lineup.
“This is for music and art fans that are open-minded and trust us to curate for them,” organizer Jay Matheson told Go Columbia last year. “We want to introduce new things that wouldn’t normally be on a festival stage in this region.”
Starting off the event are locals Barnwell, an indie folk group combining alt-country and melodic pop, on The Whig Stage.
Opening the Palmetto Brewing Stage is King Vulture, another local group that plays experimental and avant garde rock. You can also catch Charleston punk band Hearts on Fire, local lo-fi psych rock band NUMBTONGUE, and electronic indie folk band The Lovely Few earlier in the day.
In the later afternoon, see Columbia rapper and hip-hop artist FatRat Da Czar, who has become a staple performer for many local events. Valley Maker, an indie folk band, sets a more sobering tone. This is matched well with Appalachian stoner rock band Bask, who mix sludge with heavy bursts of fuzz. Keeping with the more down-tempo theme are Bombadil, who play a textured and melodious folk, and Hiss Golden Messenger, an alt-country rock group.
Elf Power, the last to perform on The Whig Stage, is an indie rock band that employs elements of folk and psych rock. It was formed in 1994 by multi-instrumentalists Andrew Rieger and Laura Carter, who create harmonious songs using horns and various percussion and stringed instruments. This will be their second time performing in town with GBV.
Along with the music, you can also enjoy food from Village Idiot, Drip on Main, Blue Ridge Island Noodles and more, as well as local craft beers and a beer garden.
A kids’ zone at Boyd Plaza will feature performances by Columbia Arts Academy students and free projects at the Columbia Museum of Art.
Rebekah Lewis Hall contributed.
If you go
Sixth annual Jam Room Music Festival
WHEN: Noon Saturday, Oct. 14.
WHERE: Main and Hampton streets in downtown Columbia.
The Whig Stage
On Main Street
Noon – Barnwell
1:30 p.m. – Hearts on Fire
3 p.m. – The Lovely Few
4:30 p.m. – Valley Maker
6 p.m. – Bombadil
7:45 p.m. – Elf Power
Palmetto Brewing Co. Stage
On Hampton Street
12:45 p.m. King Vulture
2:15 p.m. NUMBTONGUE
3:45 p.m. FatRat Da Czar
5:15 p.m. Bask
6:45 p.m. Hiss Golden Messenger
8:45 p.m. Guided by Voices