Pump up ‘The Jam’: The Jamboree Music Festival turns threeWritten by Mike Bauman | | firstname.lastname@example.org
Growing up in Northwest Ohio, music has been something 22-year-old Toledo native Cody Grup has been part of for quite some time now.
“I would say probably seventh grade I started going out to shows over at Headliners a lot and loved it,” said Grup, who serves as a booking agent and talent buyer for Verso Group — the parent company for Silly Bandz owner Robert Croak that brings in several of the area’s biggest concerts — and Go Ahead Booking. “I was never talented enough to play an instrument. I tried a couple of them. It was just awful. So I kind of found my own way with it.”
Grup started booking shows at The Underground and The Masonic Temple when he was 15. The first show he remembers booking was The Devil Wears Prada at The Underground in April of 2005.
“I just kind of found The Devil Wears Prada on MySpace, thought they were an awesome band and was like, ‘Hey, do you guys want to come play Toledo?’ and sort of figured it out myself,” said Grup, who cited Ali Aras from The Underground and Club Bijou and Bill Morgan from Vamps as two guys who helped him get his start. “I had some friends that were in local bands that played the show, and from then on I just kind of found regional bands — Cleveland, Columbus, Dayton — that I liked and would bring them here and pair them up with my friends’ local bands and do it like that.”
Now, the 2006 Whitmer grad is doing much bigger things in Toledo. Grup is one of the brains behind the Jamboree, a local music festival that is now in its third year and will take place April 14 and 15 at Headliners. Alternative Press named the Jamboree as one of its “15 Spring Festivals Worth Attending,” one which drew approximately 2,500 attendees in each of its first two years in 2010 and 2011, according to Grup.
“Since I’ve been probably 18, I’ve had the idea to try to book, like, some kind of festival-type show in Toledo because there’s not really anything like it in the area, especially in Toledo,” Grup said.
After Grup’s friend Brian Brown from Go Ahead Booking worked on the successful Bled Fest in Westland, Mich., in 2007, he asked Brown to help him create a music festival in Toledo and the pair started working on the Jamboree in 2009. The first installment of “The Jam” took place in 2010, featuring notables like the aforementioned The Devil Wears Prada, Whitechapel, Premonitions of War and We Came As Romans in an event that featured 35 bands in one day at Headliners.
“It went off extremely successful, so we decided to continue with it,” Grup said.
Even though Grup said attendance didn’t really grow for the Jamboree last year, they wanted to switch things up for 2012 and decided to make it a two-day festival. Day One of this year’s Jamboree is headlined by the likes of We Came As Romans, Emmure, Born of Osiris and Woe, Is Me, while Day Two features The Black Dahlia Murder, Whitechapel, The Acacia Strain and Oceano.
And while Grup said that they wanted to expand beyond the hardcore/screamo genre and reach out to the death metal crowd with a group like The Black Dahlia Murder, he added that each day offers a good mix of bands to make it a unified event rather than two separate concerts.
“We definitely wanted to make the two days separate, but at the same time equal,” Grup said of this year’s Jamboree, which featured a total of 61 artists at press time for this article.
In addition to the national touring acts that will come into Toledo for the Jamboree, the event will also give local bands like Citizen, React, Measure the Redshift and a Violent Perfection a chance to gain more attention, especially with Alternative Press as an official sponsor of the festival this year.
“It’s exciting and it’s nerve-wracking because it’s going to be one hell of a hectic day,” Measure the Redshift guitarist Chad Schoen said. “Hopefully it will bring us a lot of exposure.”
One example of the Jamboree helping provide a band with exposure that Grup cited was And Hell Followed With out of Detroit, who will be back this year for a reunion gig with the original lineup.
“Alex from Whitechapel worked for [The Artery Foundation] or he still does, and he saw them play at the first year of the Jamboree and made a phone call,” Grup said of And Hell Followed With. “And the next day, they were with [The Artery Foundation] and went on to do some pretty cool tours and some cool sponsorships and stuff like that.”
The Jamboree is something Grup wants to continue doing every year in Toledo and is already brainstorming for 2013.
“I personally would like to see a little bit more diversity in it,” Grup said. “I like a lot of metal and hardcore [bands] and stuff like that, but I also like a little bit of just rock ’n’ roll, and hip-hop and a little bit of everything. So that’s something that is a possibility in the future.”
- The Third Annual Jamboree Music Festival will take place on April 14 and 15 at Headliner’s, located at 4500 N. Detroit Ave. For tickets and more information, visit www.thejamboreeohio.com.