We Be Jammin’ off to good start

Published 9:42 am Friday, July 16, 2010

FRANKLIN—The 12th annual We Be Jammin’ concert series had a successful first half of the season — and is looking to build on it for the second half.

Dan Howe, downtown manager of the Downtown Franklin Association, said Tuesday the concert series has averaged at least 1,000 patrons or better for the seven concerts performed so far. He said last year the series averaged 700 people per concert.

“We had over 1,500 people on the July 4 weekend when Island Boy performed,” Howe said. “That was the largest Jammin’ attendance I’ve had.”

The concerts are held from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. Thursdays from May through early September at Barrett’s Landing.

Beverly Myers, DFA treasurer and co-chair with Pam Ellis for We Be Jammin’ promotions, agreed that the concert series had done very well so far.

“It’s been fabulous,” Myers said Thursday, adding that she’s seen some new faces, possibly because their shift at the International Paper Co. paper mill had previously coincided with the concerts. “I think a lot of people are staying closer to home. But I still see my regulars who come every year.”

Asked why he thought the series had grown in popularity, Howe said, “Local people are coming. We’ve also been broadcasting through WLQM-FM, and I think that gives us a pretty good band to shop. Between The Tidewater News, WLQM and our website, I think our publicity has been better this year than ever before.”

When asked how much the concert series generates, Howe said it varies. He said that since the concerts are free admission, most of the money generated is on alcohol sales.

“Our goal really isn’t to make money,” Howe said. “We’d like to make money, but part of our primary goal is to make enough money for the facilities and to keep the series running. Without sponsors and volunteers we wouldn’t make money on it. We target trying to make between $500 and $1,000 a week, but expenses are more than that.”

Howe said a typical concert needs at least 700 people to attend to break even.

“We want to pay for the program and provide the community a great event,” Howe said.

TFC Band will perform on July 22, followed by The Janitors on July 29. August shows will include The Rhondels, Hot Cakes and Silver Street on the 5th, 19th and 26th, respectively. Island Boy will return for the final show on

Sept. 2.

There is no concert scheduled for Aug. 12 because that is the same week as the Franklin/Southampton County Fair in Courtland.