I have some starting-a-jam questions, and I'm seeking your informed opinions. #My friends and I have been talking for a while about starting a bluegrass jam here in Stillwater, OK. #I've read reports on jams from all over the country here on the cafe, and they've varied from very informal and unplanned to pretty well thought-out. #My friends and I have a couple of scenarios in mind. #Both of these would occur once per quarter.
One: #We have a pretty informal jam where we rent a few rooms at the community center, depending on how many people we expect. #We'd have enough rooms so that, if we were evenly divided, there'd be maybe 7 people to a room. #Folks show up, go to whatever room they want, jam, and go home. #Each person that comes pays maybe $5 to help cover the room rental.
Two: #We have a more structured jam. #We still rent a few rooms at the community center, but (depending on the questions we've asked ahead of time of people we know will be coming) we have a couple of those rooms set aside for specific stuff. #Maybe an old-time jam room, or a slow jam room, or a swing room, or a country room...just depending. #Each room would have a moderator there to discreetly keep things on course and encourage people to follow good jam etiquette.
We'd have some sodas and such available. #We'd have a guest book for people to sign in. #We'd have an email newsletter, or maybe a paper newsletter. #We'd give out door prizes. #Maybe a special door prize for whoever traveled the farthest to come to the jam. #Here's where it gets involved:
We'd book good local, regional, or small national bluegrass acts to come play a concert at the end of the jam, in the community center auditorium. #We'd try to arrange workshops with noteworthy players, depending on interest. #The concerts would start with a 15 to 20 minute open mic session for groups of up-to-five jammers (ala Kamp).
So, the questions are: #Would you rather pay $5 to go to the first jam, or $25 to go to the second jam (concert included, workshops, if any, separate). #What are the big sticking points that will hinder either jam? #Have you seen jams of either sort really succeed, or wither up and die? #Why? #What else should be included, or left out?