The Big Ticket – Dec 3rd

PHOTO: Paul Varner
PHOTO: Paul Varner

by Kellie Abrahamson
Over the years major modern music festivals seem to have fled the First Coast. We haven’t had a Warped Tour since 2007, Harvest of Hope Fest won’t be happening next year and PlanetFest folded when Planet Radio did. But these ghosts of concerts past aren’t stopping Jacksonville’s reigning new rock radio station from throwing its own party this fall. The Big Ticket, X102.9’s latest concert event, promises to give local music fans what they crave: an annual, day-long festival with big names on the bill at an affordable price. The event will be held on Friday, December 3rd at Metropolitan Park.
The Big Ticket was born after local concert promoter extraordinaire Jason Lewis of Orange Garden Productions introduced X102.9’s team to Danny Wimmer of Right Arm Entertainment, the company responsible for massive festivals like Cleveland’s Rock on the Range and Southern California’s Epicenter Festival. Out of that meeting came the idea for an event that’s a little different from what Jacksonville fans may be used to, at least when it comes to the line-up.
“I think in terms of radio festivals- this is a radio festival, this is [X102.9’s] day- I think they provided a line-up that isn’t your traditional rock/metal-based line-up,” Lewis explained when we spoke to him about the Big Ticket. “There is some of that included but it’s a lot more diverse.”
Indeed, there’s a little something for everyone on the bill. Blues rock duo the Black Keys will perform as well as rock bands Chevelle, Anberlin and Switchfoot, funk rockers Paper Tongues, Gainesville punks Against Me!, reggae rock act Dirty Heads and Ocala metalcore band A Day to Remember.
“We’re excited to have a fun event in Jacksonville this fall,” Lewis says. “It’s a big, fun event that appeals to a lot of different people. It’s not just for one type of crowd. It’s not just for heavy metalheads or indie rockers or beach bums. Hopefully it appeals to all of those and more.”
Local psychedelic rock duo Sunbears! are scheduled to perform at the Big Ticket, but they aren’t the only Jax-based band you’re likely to see. X102.9 and Brewster’s Pit will be hosting a battle of the bands competition for a chance to perform at the festival. Bands interested in winning the coveted spot are encouraged to visit for more information.
Lewis says we can expect the Big Ticket to be an annual event, always taking place the weekend after Thanksgiving. It should also be noted that this isn’t the only festival Lewis is involved in. Though there’s not much to report at this time, he did confirm that he’s working on resurrecting the Talleyrand Music & Arts Festival and hopes to hold it either in the late spring or early summer of 2011.
General admission tickets for the Big Ticket are $25 in advance and $35 at the gate. You can also purchase VIP passes for $50, which includes exclusive access to the best seats in the house, special restrooms and extra bars. You can get your tickets through Ticketmaster or avoid service fees by picking them up at certain MetroPCS stores. For a list of ticket outlet locations or for all the latest information on the festival, visit