A common sentiment within the local Black Community is that the region doesn't present enough high level entertainment representative of its tastes and culture. Many diverse artists share the same point of view as it relates to economic opportunities. The belief has led them to direct their energies toward participating in the events that happen in neighboring cities and states.
JAMS Funk Fests fills the void. The annual festivals are presented on a large scale platform at the New York State Fair. Culturally appropriate national recording artists headline the festivals preceded by a rich line-up of performances from top local/regional acts. The events are open to the public and free with paid admission to the fair. To assure that no one is left out due to an inability to purchase a fair ticket; JAMS distributes 3,500 complimentary gate passes to churches, community organizations and other strategic distribution sites. The responses to the festivals have been phenomenal.
Below: Photos of performances by National Recording Artists at JAMS Funk Fests...
Above: Lakeside was a co-headliner of JAMS Funk Fest 2k19. It was "All the way Live" as the Dayton, Ohio funk-masters moved the crowd with its own brand of funky music, dubbed the "Lakeside Stank." The crowd jumped to their feet at the first whiff of the band's #1 RnB hit song, "Fantastic Voyage," and kept right on movin' as they pounded out hit after hit. The hits, recorded on the Warner Brothers label, included, "Raid; Something about that woman; Your love is on the one; and Outrageous." Mark Wood, the group's original lead singer finally settled things down and wooed the crowd with his baritone as he refashioned an old Beatles rock tune called "I wanna hold your hand," into a hip RnB ballad. Regional opening acts for the show were Shawn Seals Xperiment, Brownskin Band and Ener-g.
Above: Arista Hit Recording Artists, Raydio; Original group members Vincent Bonham and Arnell Carmichael brought the funk to the fest as co-headliners in 2019 with their multiple gold and platinum selling hit songs including, "You can't change that; Jack and Jill; and Two places at the same time." They also performed the number one hit song "Ghostbusters," written and recorded by their founder and namesake, Ray Parker Jr. The all-day festival featured multiple local acts as openers (not pictured)...
Above: The Troutman family and their band, Zapp; Zapped the funk fest with "More Bounce to the Ounce" and high style as they had the fans partying on the "Dance Floor". The "So Rough So Tough," Warner Brothers recording, artists kept the late NY summer's night hot for about 90 minutes with their hits before closing with the earth shaker, "California Love," from Dr Dre and Tupac Shakur, featuring; Roger Troutman. Zapp's performance capped the evening for a whole day's line up of popular local/regional acts including the Blacklites; Missy Belgre; Ignite and others (not pictured)... A Zapp fan's social media video clip can be seen here.
2017: Slave with Steve Arrington
Above: Steve Arrington, the voice of Slave (video clip); Arrington is known for his unique vocal sound as the lead vocalist for the hit funk/rnb band, Slave. Also the group's percussionist, he kept the crowd on their feet dancing with hit songs, '"Just a touch of love," "Weak at the knees," "Wait for me, and Watching you." The funk continued into the night with music from his solo projects recorded under the name, Steve Arrington's Hall of Fame. Local/regional opening acts for the group included Trump Tight 315; Foundation and others (not pictured)..
2016: Gerald Veasley's Unscripted Super band
Above: Philadelphia bassist, educator and recording artist, Gerald Veasley dropped his brand of funk on fest (bass solo clip). He invited saxophonist/vocalist, Walter Beasley; and Guitarist, Chuck Loeb; from his "Unscripted Super Band," to assist (guitar solo). The band rocked the house with a few originals and a blend of popular jazz and funk infused rhythms and melodies. Veasley also opened the stage to a local favorite, vocalist, Donna Alford. Alford had sung earlier on the bill with the Soft Spoken Band. The crowd received a treat as they traded licks back and forth. Apart from the playing in the USB, Beasley and Loeb are highly respected artists in their own right. Beasley is a professor at the famed Berklee School of Music and is one of the top 10 selling saxophonists in the world. Loeb is also a touring member of the popular jazz quartet, Four Play and has recorded 21 studio albums. His 1996 release spent six weeks at #1 on the jazz charts. JAMS was fortunate to host a Loeb performance as he lost his battle with cancer only a few months later. Regional artists, Soul Smooth and UAD were openers.