SandJam to feature non-country acts on sandy beach
First there was Gulf Coast Jam, then there was Spring Jam — and next year, Beach officials will introduce SandJam, a spring music festival on the sandy beach.
Tourism officials on Tuesday approved the new festival, which will replace SpringJam, during a regular meeting of the Bay County Tourist Development Council and Panama City Beach Convention and Visitors Bureau.
SpringJam was created to provide a more family-friendly music experience that might also provide a better view of the city, said Catie Feeney, Visit Panama City Beach public relations manager. SpringJam was not added to the FY 2018 budget.
Feeney said promoters for SandJam approached tourism officials with the idea for an event that would move away from country music and begin to target young professionals.
“We believe this festival can be bigger than Gulf Coast Jam,” said Rendy Lovelady, festival promoter. “It will have a bigger reach and impact and can bring in a younger demo our beach isn’t reaching.”
Artists like Luke Bryan, Rascal Flatts and other country music stars have taken the stage at previous Jams. Organizers began diversifying the music beyond country with Sheryl Crow’s appearance at Pepsi SpringJam in April 2017, and Lovelady said SandJam will continue that trend, focusing on other genres of music that will appeal to a new audience. The target demographic, young executives ages 28 to 35, is an age group that hasn’t frequented the beach as much as other groups, he said.
“I like the idea of diversifying the music, so Panama City Beach won’t be known just for country,” said Andy Phillips of the TDC.
Organizers’ goal is for SandJam to match the reach and impact of Gulf Coast Jam within five years. It’s a lofty goal — in that time frame, Gulf Coast Jam brought in about $250,000 in social media impressions, garnered 800 million total media impressions, drew over 260,000 attendees and had an economic impact of about $66 million.
SandJam is expected to bring in about 10,000 people a day to the M.B. Miller County Pier, where artists will perform on a beach stage. TDC member Gary Walsingham liked the idea of the festival being directly on the beach.
“Being on the beach will be a selling point for this,” he said.
As for marketing the event, Lovelady said promoters have developed relationships with groups like Viacom, and he expects to reach out to radio stations like iHeart Media and Sirius XM. In addition, he said promoters will work with lodging partners and military programs in the city.
“All of these military bases in this area have people interested in this,” he said. “It gives us a chance to go into military bases.”
Military discounts also will be offered.
SandJam is scheduled for April 26-28. A lineup has not yet been announced.
In other business Tuesday, the TDC:
• Approved $30,000 for the Bay County Beach Access Bike Rack Installation Project.
• Heard results from the 2017 beach renourishment project monitoring analysis.
• Made a motion to extend a land transfer agreement between multiple agencies, regarding the new sports park planned along Back Beach Road.
Source: Panama City News Herald