Some Kind of Jam 7
Schuylkill Haven, PA
April 27, 2012

As those of you who follow TriStateIndie.com know, we love Jibberjazz and the festivals they put on. This is the seventh year for Some Kind of Jam, and both Midsummer Meltdown and Meeting of the Minds have both matured into established midsize festivals for the Eastern PA and surrounding areas music and camping lovers. Many people were concerned about the weather heading into last weekend, and our campsite was well prepared for rain, but we didn’t get a drop! Yes it was cold, but that just made us dance harder and enjoy the many campfires that much more.

The setup at the Schuylkill Haven Fair Grounds is just about perfect for a music festival. The open pavilions, may of which still displayed the names of the winning animals from the last farm show, are used for sheltered camping, except for one which is set up as a campground stage. It’s a special stage because that’s where the “facing” sets are played. This is when two bands are up at once, with a conductor, and what could be looked at as a battle, turns into a collaboration and super-jam session. There were three of these on Saturday, of which I saw two, and they were both awesome. More on that later. The main stage field had a new addition – a huge fire pit with a bonfire that raged all weekend, keeping everyone toasty warm. The field is surrounded by vendors and there were activities for kids, art, hooping, and great food, all of which have become signature additions to the music at Jibberjazz events.

We arrived on Friday at noon and set up camp to the sounds of Hot Club of Philadelphia and Rotten Belly Blues. Not being ready to start dancing quite yet, we moseyed over to our neighbors who seemed to be jamming at the next campsite. It turns out they were the next band up Echoes Talk Back, and they weren’t just jamming, they were practicing, and making sure they would be ready to perform in the cold of the late afternoon. We caught their set on the main stage and they were awesome. They were followed by Mystery Fyre, Jibberjazz regulars who we love, Thunder Body who were also really good, and then Cornmeal, who played an amazing set. We saw them recently at World Cafe Live and this set was even better. Never made it to the campground stage where they had a singer/songwriter showcase with Nina Scarcia, and sets by Rotten Belly Blues and Karmic Juggernaut. The people who made it to those sets had big smiles on their faces.

 

In between sets we built our own campsite bonfire, and had some homemade dinner (StSteven’s vegan chili) which we shared with those gathered at our campfire jam session with their guitars, banjos, and voices. And during these between times, there was always music on the main stage. Erik from Baltimore, Kyle Morgan, Nina Scarcia, and Tomm Dunn were the featured “tweeners”.

Late night at SKOJ is indoors, in a barn which has just the right atmosphere for getting down. They had a big heater installed, so it wasn’t hard to stay warm. The front half of the room is the stage and jam-packed dancing area, and the rear is more filled with LED hoopers and groups of friends chillaxing. The Big Dirty, playing one of their last shows before going their separate ways is a Jibberjazz favorite and they played a great set until 2am. Then Twiddle came on and jammed till the wee hours, though we just caught a bit and headed back to make our own music around our roaring fire. It was awesome.

Enjoy this first of two photo galleries from the weekend and keep your eyes peeled for Part II of TSI’s coverage coming tomorrow!

Story by Ronnie Richmond
Photography by Steven Philips (aka StSteven)