When the sun goes down and the moon comes up, Flattop and other night critters burn their midnight oil at the Saturday night Jam, a melting pot of musical genres and entertainment. The Midnight Jam offers some of the most coveted tickets offered at MerleFest, providing a more intimate and up-close setting with a wide array of MerleFest artists. Only 3-day, 4-day and Saturday MerleFest ticket holders are eligible to purchase the special ticket to the Midnight Jam, which costs $40.
The first Midnight Jam was held in the Walker Center in 1991. The idea of a Midnight Jam was conceived during a midnight conversation between "B" Townes and Tony Rice at an IBMA conference. They were trying to come up with something new that could be added to enhance MerleFest. Tony suggested a jam at midnight - The Midnight Jam. He agreed to co-host the set with Peter Rowan, and the Midnight Jam was born. Grammy Award-winning musician Laurie Lewis says it well: "You never know what's going to happen. You get the chance to play with people you don't usually perform with."
Still today, the Midnight Jam exemplifies the fact that jamming became a defining feature of MerleFest from the beginning as the mix of artists collaborates in unique ways. In 2011, Casey Driessen brought unprecedented life to the Walker Center stage during the Midnight Jam. He incorporated artists from every genre, including jugglers, cloggers and Grammy-winning jammers, into the action. Fans never knew what was going to happen next on stage.
"From a youth picker attending MerleFest with my family years ago to a college student road tripper, I always made sure to attend the Midnight Jam (usually through sneaking in). During those years, it wasn't about getting on stage (though that would happen); it was about just being around the backstage picking sessions of my heroes," says Casey Driessen. "I had the great honor of being asked to host the Midnight Jam for MerleFest 2011, and then asked back to host again for MerleFest 25. For me, the beauty of the Midnight Jam is its spontaneity. Jam sessions of old friends and new spring up backstage, and most eventually wander out to stage. In the end, you never really know who will show up, but that might just be the best part for everyone - fans and musicians alike."
When you purchase your tickets for MerleFest 2013, be sure to get your tickets for the Midnight Jam, an event that is sure to please.