Jacksonville is the largest city by area in the lower 48 states (841 square miles), and the city has filled all of that space with plenty of attractions and activities sure to make your next Florida vacation unforgettable. The River City by the Sea features well-preserved historic districts, a restaurant for every culinary taste, and numerous cultural attractions. Whether you're taking advantage of the largest urban park system in America or looking for a vibrant nightclub to dance the night away, Jacksonville has something for everyone.
The Oyster Jam Music Festival is entering its fifth year bringing unique oyster dishes and an eclectic mix of live music to Jacksonville. It will take place April 22-23, at Metropolitan Park & Marina, located on the banks of the St. Johns River in downtown. This all-ages event features more than 12 music acts from a variety of genres. The event will also feature some of the city's top culinary talent preparing a variety of oyster dishes for patrons to sample. Attendees can participate in a cornhole tournament, shop at the artisan market, or watch the oyster cooking competition, Shuck’n Contest, SUP Paddleboard Races, and more. The Oyster Jam supports the USS Adams Museum Ship, a former US battleship that supporters are trying to bring to Jacksonville. We got the chance to interview Stuart Lackey, a representative for the event, to learn more about this unique fusion of music and seafood.
RAL: How long has the event been running?
SL: This is the 5th Annual Oyster Jam Music Festival.
RAL: How many annual participants do you draw?
SL: We predict between 10-12K people over the course of both days.
RAL: What demographic does your event attract? Children? Families? Couples?
SL: Yes, yes, and yes, we see everyone at the event!
RAL: What makes this event unique?
SL: You will also get a FREE ticket inside the Southeast US Boat Show -- attendees get two events for the price of one.
RAL: Take me through the activities of a day at the event.
SL: We have good tunes from a great lineup of bands, grills lit up, char grilled oysters, Shuck'n Contest, oyster cook-off, bikini contest, SUP races and demonstrations, a kid’s area, food trucks, and a tiki bar overlooking the St. Johns River.
Saturday performances start with the dance team from Showtime USA Jax followed by Brent Byrd, The Rip Currents, Dirty Petes, Austin Park, Emma Moseley Band, Ginger Beard Man and Propaganjah.
Sunday has a good mix of local favorites including Catch The Groove, Mama Blue, Firewater Tent Revival, Kim Reteguiz and the Black Cat Bones, Parker Urban Band, J Collins, and the Jason Evans Band.
The folks that come out every year already know the bands are just a small part of the fun, especially when you take into account the events that go on inside the event. The Shuck'n Contest has competitors from as far away as Panama City, Apalachicola, and even Maine.
RAL: What dining options will be available?
SL: We dabble in some exotic tastes for those who only enjoy cooked oysters. Chef X from Xclusively Kissed Intimate Catering won the prize money with a Caribbean Jerk Oyster featuring a Tropical Sauce in last year's competition, and she is returning this year. The Oyster Cook-off is our most talked about event. You can help us judge these amazing treats and vote for the Crowd Pleaser Award. Also, come out and meet the celebrity judges that will select the Grand Prize Winner.
RAL: What can an attendee expect to find for local lodging?
SL: The downtown area has hotels close by, but a short river taxi ride will put you in Riverside or San Marco, where there are plenty of lodging options.
RAL: Are there any lodging specials that are set up specifically for the event?
SL: Yes, the same great deal as our boat dealers, follow the link.
RAL: Does the event support a particular cause in the community?
SL: Yes, the USS Adams is a museum ship we are trying to bring to downtown Jacksonville.
RAL: Why should people come to your event?
SL: Florida and Georgia are steeped in a long-held tradition of hospitality and entertainment that evolved around the oyster. Boat travelers will love to park at the marina and enjoy the festivities. It's just a great show.
For more information about the Oyster Jam Music Festival, please visit the event website.