West Michigan’s biggest night for music returns Saturday with a full day celebrating regional music. Local Spins checked in with WYCE staffers ahead of the big day, plus view the full schedule.
SCROLL DOWN FOR SCHEDULE & TUNE IN FOR A JAMMIES EDITION OF LOCAL SPINS ON WYCE AT 11 a.m. FRIDAY (88.1 FM, wyce.org)
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Walking into the office at WYCE (88.1 FM) the week of the Jammies is a hurricane of computer keyboard chaos and dizzying logistical laments.
Curating the large-scale event as a staff of two, WYCE’s Shane German and Kikki Lone have an extraordinary amount of planning and preparation on their metaphorical plates.
“The Jammies preparation is always very hectic. There are lots of moving parts, 25 bands on three different stages. Each band has different technical needs and sounds and I put a lot of thought into show flow,” says WYCE Music Director Shane German.
That lineup of 25 bands includes Lipstick Jodi, Rin Tarsy, Wuzee & Samil with MIC Book, The Hacky Turtles and The Accidentals, among others.
This year’s theme is “collaboration over competition,” German says. The show begins at 5:30 p.m. at The Intersection and is free to the public. Admission is free, but donations to WYCE are encouraged, along with bringing non-perishable food items for Feeding America West Michigan.
For the first time, a pre-party will take place at Studio Park in downtown Grand Rapids starting at 2 p.m., with performances by KJ & The Good Time Family Band and Jack Droppers & The Best Intentions.
I’m able to momentarily pull German aside for a few brief moments of conversation before he’s locked back into his glowing computer and pinging phone in an office that overlooks Bridge Street.
It’s a street that offers a glimpse into the very community he’s referencing. Buses shuttle by with headphone-wearing riders; patrons shuffle into West Side Smoke Shop across the street toting along Bluetooth speakers; cars blast anything from Springsteen to Kendrick.
Music is the pulse of this block as well as the pulse of the community WYCE is catering to.
“We wanted to remind ourselves why the Jammies began. It was to celebrate the West Michigan music community. My favorite moments in Jammies history is when artists hop on stage and perform with one another,” German says.
“It creates special moments. Even though bands may have different influences or sounds, we’re all part of the community. We should all be supporting each other and lifting each other up.
“We are now in a state of evolution both here at the station and in Grand Rapids. We are growing as a community. We are growing as a station. We are much more genre-fluid than we used to be.”
The Jammies will present a series of “Ovation Awards” in partnership with the Michigan Music Alliance that will honor those who made a significant impact during the pandemic to save West Michigan stages when venues were closed, individuals who were “trying to uplift the community in very difficult times.”
There will be one official Jammie award, a Listeners’ Choice Award, voted and decided by a public vote, which drew 3,000 votes. Another important aspect for German in the planning of the Jammies was inclusivity and diversity.
“As an openly gay music director of a radio station in West Michigan, I think representation matters, I think in order to serve a community you need to listen to multiple viewpoints and voices. And when you welcome more people you actually grow your audience,” German says.
“If you can cast a wider net and be more inclusive, more people feel they have a space and a voice that shows there’s representation there.
So I’ve worked really hard to abide by that mission because I am a marginalized person and have been in my life and I feel it’s a duty that no voices are left behind.”
Tune in at 11 a.m. Friday for a Jammie Awards edition of Local Spins on WYCE (88.1 FM and online at wyce.org).
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