STAUNTON — Molly Murphy is making a list of all the sponsors she and her other bandmates have collected for an upcoming concert and arts festival that will take place Memorial Day Weekend. She’s sorting all the details out, hammering out the schedule and jotting down notes as her bandmate, William Howard, informs her of other sponsors that they have OK’d the event.
Staunton Jams is back and it’s going to be bigger than it has even been before.
You may have heard of it. It’s a blast from the past. And it’ll be a little different than before.
Originally, Staunton Jams started in 2004 as a biannual music event hosted by Baja Bean’s Sarah Lynch that shut down West Beverley Street in between North Augusta Street and Central Avenue. It was always held the Saturday on Memorial Day and Labor Day weekends and showcased local bands from noon until 10 pm
The last time it was held was 2018.
After four years Murphy and her band The Judy Chops, along with WQSV, are rebooting the effort, with some new additions.
The all-day music and art event will encompass all of downtown Staunton — from Staunton Patio off Central Avenue all the way down to the Wharf.
There will be two major staging areas — Sunspots Pavilion and at Staunton Patio. In between, there are several other venues that will have artists, vendors, live street performances and more. Murphy also said this will coincide with the Redbeard Summer Concert Series.
Previously, the event was put on by volunteers. Bands would lend their time to perform and could be compensated by local businesses.
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Now, Murphy said they are gathering more sponsors so they can pay the bands and other performers. All the funds will go towards compensation for the artists and performers as well as production of the all-day event and future production, along with advertising for the event.
“Rather than trying to bring back Sarah’s original Staunton Jams model, we are proposing a Staunton Jams reboot with a collaborative model and plans for expansion over time,” Murphy said. “Having perspective from both the musician and producer sides of the coin, our top priorities are to fairly compensate the artists and offset production costs.”
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Murphy and Howard said when COVID hit, many musicians were left without a way of making any money with performances. Performances weren’t happening, instead they were doing free livestreams for people, then slowly getting back out there once restrictions lifted and cases dropped.
“The impact of COVID on the arts in our town has really made our scene fall apart a little bit,” Murphy said. “I think that now that this is an opportunity for something outdoors that we can expand it to include more of our downtown. It makes it feel more inclusive.”
There will be 20 performances throughout the day spanning the entire length of Beverley Street, as well as the Wharf, Ciders From Mars, Redbeard Brewing and Staunton Patio.
“We can have more,” Howard said. “I like the idea of it, like we’re expanding what downtown can be by pushing into the Patio and pushing into the Wharf and seeing that whole thing as downtown.”
Staunton Patio, located on Baldwin Street, will serve as the event’s main stage. Overall, the performances will overlap in sorts — but they will be offering different types of music to allow for a range of variety to please anyone who wants to attend.
Other venues include Table 44, Staunton’s Farmers Market and Tempest Bar and Lounge.
The proposed schedule is to start at the Staunton Farmers Market at 9:30 am and end with The Judy Chops performing after 8 pm at Staunton Patio ending outdoor music by 10 pm, with an afterparty at Tempest.
They are still looking for more sponsors for the event. The schedule is still being ironed out, as well. For more information visit Staunton Jams on Facebook.
Laura Peters is the trending topics reporter at The News Leader. Have a news tip on local trends or businesses? Or a good feature? You can reach reporter Laura Peters (she/her) at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her @peterslaura. Subscribe to The News Leader at newsleader.com.