The Rapidian

Awards showcase to celebrate local musicians

The Intersection will host WYCE's 17th Jammies at 5:30 p.m. on Feb. 19. Twenty-four artists will perform and 20 awards will be given for numerous categories.
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Ralston Bowles, Lady Ace Boogie, Rick Chyme and many other Grand Rapids musicians will soon take the stage for a night of celebration and community that spans genres. They'll all be gathering at the WYCE Jammies on February 19 at The Intersection, with 24 artists performing and 20 awards being handed out at the 17th annual event.

Any group that released new music and was played on WYCE in 2015 is eligible for a Jammie nomination, and several hundred are in the running this year. Over 70 volunteer WYCE programmers will vote for their favorites in categories such as best album by a new artist, song of the year and best production. Listeners can also vote for their favorite new artist and album of the year.

AJ Paschka, WYCE’s station manager, says the Jammies helps connect Grand Rapids citizens with their local musicians.

“If you have the desire to really find out what’s happening locally with music, this is the one night every year where everybody is there,” he says. “It’s the time to experience what’s happening right now in Grand Rapids.”

For many of the bands playing, the Jammies is an opportunity to get in front of bigger crowds and find an audience.

“It’s about discovery, overall,” he continues. “If you want to be efficient and discover your next favorite band, this is the time to do it.”

Nicole Larae Leach, WYCE’s community relations coordinator, says the Jammies helps strengthen what is already a tightly-knit music scene.

“I think the camaraderie has always been there, but you just see them collaborating more with each other,” she says. “So you’ll see Rick Chyme play with Accidentals for a song, or Lady Ace Boogie collaborate with someone. We’ve been seeing that a lot over the last few years.”

For Paschka, a stronger music scene means more than better shows and bigger bands.

“Local music is often the driving force of audience engagement programming for businesses, nonprofits and community organizations,” he says. “It is critical to support and nurture the talent that exists in our community because this type of expression is inclusive and helps bridge the differences between our shared experiences as people.”

While Grand Rapids is known for its folk and Americana scene, the Jammies recognizes a wide variety of sounds from jazz to hip hop. Paschka says this year’s group of nominees is is one of the most diverse musically that they’ve had.

Ty Beat, an electronic musician and Grand Rapids native, is performing at the Jammies for the first time. He is also the only nominee in the electronic music category performing at this year’s Jammies. His EP “Novella” is nominated for best electronic album and best production. “The Air Up There,” a song from that EP, is also in the running for song of the year.

“WYCE has been really supportive of me and my music, and my involvement in the Michigan music community in general,” he says. “It’s an honor to be considered by people who I think have such good taste in music.” 

The Jammies is sponsored by Bell’s Brewery, who will also be taking over The Intersection’s taps. As a primarily volunteer organization, WYCE relies on sponsors to provide resources.

“They really allow us to pull in a lot of the production. It’s a lot of moving pieces, and that’s something a little bit above what just volunteers can do,” Paschka says. “The Intersection should also be mentioned. They donate the venue on a Friday night…they’ve supported music for so long and they’re so good to us.”

The event is a fundraiser for WYCE, and a $5 minimum suggested donation is requested at the door. Those who donate will receive a snack voucher for San Chez, a Tapas Bistro, who is catering the event. The event will also feature a photo booth, and many of the performers will be selling band merchandise.

The Intersection will host the Jammies on the main stage and a smaller stage called The Stache. Bands will perform until 11:00 p.m., followed by an after party in The Stache. 

See the WYCE website for a full lineup of performers for the night here.

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