First-ever ‘Jamherst’ to rock the weekend


Courtesy of Jamherst's Facebook event page.

AMHERST — Patrons of six local bars and restaurants in Amherst will be able to enjoy live music with their food and drinks this weekend as the Amherst Business Improvement District and Ronin Audio Production sponsor the first ever Jamherst concert series.

The three-day event, which will feature live musical performances from local artists, will take place from Friday to Sunday.

Twenty bands and solo acts are confirmed take the stage across the three days. Each day will be split into two parts that consist of either acoustic and electric acts that transcend a variety of genres, including bluegrass and rock music. Acoustic acts will begin earlier in the evening while electric acts will take place at night.

The Black Sheep Deli will kick off the event Friday at 6 p.m. At 9 p.m., High Horse will showcase electric acts until last call at 1 a.m. At 5 p.m. on Saturday, Share Coffee will host acoustic performances until 7 p.m. Performances continue at The Pub where electric acts will take the stage at 9 p.m. till 1 a.m.

Musician Ben Falkoff will be the only performer Sunday at Bistro 63, which will go from 1 to 3 p.m. Stackers Pub will host almost eight hours of performances starting at 4 p.m. and will feature five acts—the largest out of any venue this weekend.

A full list of performers can be found on the event’s Facebook page.

The event was spearheaded and largely organized by local musician and well-known Ren’s Mobile Service gas station attendant Tom Schack.

Schack, whose band Outer Stylie will perform at High Horse Friday night, has been involved in the local music scene since he was a student at the University of Massachusetts Amherst back in the late 2000s. The band started around 10 years ago where they established themselves as a UMass party band. Since then, his band has released an album and went on tour across the country, but his roots still lie in the Pioneer Valley.

In the past, Schack has organized music events such as Schackstock—a day-long music festival – at The O’s Music Bar in Sunderland. He sees Jamherst as an opportunity to help revive the live music scene in Amherst.

According to Schack, Amherst was once a popular destination for bands back in the 60s and 70s, but the scene has since shifted to Northampton and Greenfield.

“Right now, there seems to be a desire for more bands in town,” said Schack, who has built up a lot of local connections in Amherst through his work at the gas station and as a musician.

According to Ann Tweedy, marketing director at the BID, a $500 grant from the Amherst Cultural Council is being used towards the event. Their co-sponsor, Ronin Audio Production, is also providing the sound equipment and their services at a reduced cost for the electric performances.

“We didn’t have a lot of funds to throw at this but we believe in it,” Tweedy said in an email. “The musicians and bands have been wonderful in helping us keep live and local music alive in downtown.”

Tweedy and Schack both hope Jamherst will not be the last of its kind and want to continue to plan more live music events for the people of Amherst to enjoy.