2015-08-19 / Front Page

South GA Jam Coming to Colquitt October 31

Fireworks will light the sky after concert

Easton Corbin to perform at Jam Easton Corbin to perform at Jam Since 1989, the Colquitt Miller Arts Council has been creating ways to put Colquitt on the map as a cultural destination, while strengthening our local community. With programs such as Swamp Gravy, New Life Learning Center, Market on the Square, and the Millennium Mural Project, they have been largely successful, helping to create a community and economic model that has inspired other communities across the country and around the world. The Great Recession took its toll on the Arts Council as it did so many businesses and individual around the country, and CMAC lost its largest funders as well as all but one grant source, and was forced to cut two-thirds of its staffing. Through the dedication and determination of its volunteers, board members, and the remaining staff, the Arts Council managed to survive and is now able to turn its attention towards new programming that will not only grow the organization, but also provide for the preservation of its current legacy: the 16 murals that decorate the city from a wall within Cotton Hall to the 100 ft. peanut silo that towers above town, Cotton Hall itself, the physical structures of NLLC and MOTS, and all of the programs they house. Storm damage to “Nuthin’ But A Will,” the expansion of New Life Learning Center, and a new roof for Cotton Hall created immediate needs to be addressed.

The outdoor concert will take place in front of this mural. The outdoor concert will take place in front of this mural. The South Georgia Jam grew out of these needs and the Arts Council’s desire to reach new audiences and introduce them to Colquitt, Georgia. The Arts Council set its sights on finding a hit country act to headline the event and landed Easton Corbin, whose latest album, “About To Get Real,” debuted at #1 on the country charts this summer and remained there for three weeks.

“We’re very excited to have Easton Corbin on board for this,” says Kate Willis, artistic director for the Arts Council. “He’ll bring with him fans who haven’t heard of Colquitt yet, but afterwards will never forget this small town in Southwest Georgia with a big heart and even bigger dreams. I’m proud to be a part of this community, and am blessed to work with Swamp Gravy to promote it. I can’t wait for this new opportunity to show Colquitt off.”

Easton Corbin isn’t a Georgia boy, having grown up on a cattle farm in Gilchrist County, Florida, where he was active in the FFA and 4-H. “I lived a mile from the Suwannee River,” Easton says on his website, eastoncorbin.com. “I grew up fishing on it, and I loved to work on the farm. Every weekend, that’s where I’d be… [Gilchrist Co. is] a close community. Everybody knows everybody. There’s no Walmart there,” he says. “There was a Hardee’s, but it closed. That was the only franchise fast food place in the county. Trenton has a red light; Bell has a blinking light. It’s a great place.” Georgia grown or not, Corbin will fit in perfectly here in Colquitt, sounds like.

He’s no stranger to big dreams, either, having made his own come true. He debuted his first album in 2010, became the first male artist in 17 to have his first two consecutive singles reach #1 (“Roll With It” and “A Little More Country Than That”). That year he was also named Billboard’s Top New Country Artist, won American Country Awards for Artist of the Year: Breakthrough Artist, as well as Single of the Year: Breakthrough Artist and Music Video: Breakthrough Artist for “A Little More Country Than That.” He tied with Lady Antebellum to earn the most nominations, garnering seven. He received 13 award nominations overall in 2010, including nominations for Best New Artist, and Single and Song of the Year for “A Little More Country Than That” at the 2010 Country Music Association Awards. He continues to top charts with singles like “Lovin’ You Is Fun,” “All Over The Road,” and “Baby Be My Love Song.”

“This is a dream come true,” Corbin says. “This is something I’ve wanted all of my life. To be able to do this for a living and have people like it, I couldn’t ask for any better. I am so blessed.”

CMAC rounded off the line-up for the event with top regional acts Tobacco Rd Band, Highway 55, and Red Hoss Sucka’s. With the help of the Colquitt Miller County Chamber of Commerce, the evening will end with a stunning fireworks display. The concert is an all-ages show, and will take place on Halloween night in the field behind Cotton Hall, with the beautiful Agricultural Icon Mural in the background. “The Agricultural Icon mural, or “Peanut Farmer,” is one of our greatest achievements as part of the Millennium Mural Project,” Willis says. “Not only is it a breathtaking work of art, but it celebrates the people who are at the foundation of our community and our society as a whole – our farmers. We’re excited to incorporate it into this event, which features a performer who also understands the farming community. We’re celebrating everything that makes Colquitt great at the South Georgia Jam, and our farmers are a huge part of that.”

CMAC is working closely with Jeb Tabb, the Colquitt Miller County Chamber of Commerce, the Colquitt Miller Fire and EMS, The Colquitt City Manager, the Colquitt Police Department, Miller County Sheriff’s Department, and Georgia State Patrol to work out the logistics of holding such a large event in our small town. “The safety of our residents and our guests is our top priority. We’re grateful to our local city officials, emergency services, and law enforcement for their support and help in this process from the very beginning. “

Attendees are encouraged to bring their lawn chairs, blankets, and coolers (for an additional fee) but umbrellas, glass bottles, pets, and weapons of any kind will not be permitted on the concert grounds. Service animals are permitted. Tickets are available at www.swampgravy.com. Handicap and VIP seating is available by calling 229-758-5450.

In 2008, The Colquitt Miller Arts Council adopted a new mission statement that covers all of its many projects and goals: “Celebrating the human spirit through creative programming and services inspired by regional culture.” “Music has been an integral part of our society since our earliest beginnings. It inspires every facet of our human emotion, reflects our stories, and moves our spirits. Song unites us in a way that few other art forms can,” says Willis. “Tourism creates a ripple effect, directly impacting local business while generating tax revenue to strengthen our community. Colquitt is already a cultural destination in Georgia, and the South Georgia Jam is using the power of music to build on that.”

The South Georgia Jam provides another opportunity for Colquitt, Georgia, to unite as a destination not to be missed in Georgia, and in the country. The Colquitt community is invited to a Town Hall meeting at Cotton Hall on Monday, September 1, at 6:30 p.m, to discuss plans for the South Georgia Jam. For more information about the town hall meeting, please call the CMAC office at 229-758-5450.

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