Oysters, Music, beer and boats

Organizers of the first-ever Oyster Jam Music Festival are hoping to grow their event into the pearl of Downtown festivals. The traditional, down-home oyster roast and music festival will be held April 13 and 14 at Metropolitan Park in conjunction with the 17th Annual Southeast US Boat Show at the adjoining marina.
The waterfront venue is the perfect destination for the event, which will feature over 20 live bands, a bikini contest, micro-brewed beer from Kona, Bold City, Goose Island and Killer Whale, and an oyster shucking contest to help celebrate the life aquatic. The two-day Oyster Jam Music Festival will also host an Arts Village full of exhibitors showcasing glass, jewelry, woodworking, clothing, furniture and other handcrafted gifts. The festival kicks off Saturday, April 13th, from 10 am to 8 pm and runs through Sunday, April 14th, from 10 am to 6 pm. Admission is $10 for adults. Those under 16 are free.
Participating bands include Mama Blue, the Groove Coalition, Rawmyst, the Chris Williams Band, Tough Junkie, Lift, Harm’s Way, the Ripcurrents, S.P.O.R.E., Insert Name Here, Beau & the Burners, Exhale, Michael Jordan and the Cave. For the full performance lineup go to www.theoysterjam.com.
Years of running the boat show prompted festival founder Jimmy Hill to create a separate, family-friendly event that represents all facets of the water-loving lifestyle. While he enjoyed great success with the boat show, Hill says he wanted to widen the demographic and to appeal to more than just the boating community. When it came time to select a location, he says Metropolitan Park fit the bill in every way. “There is a huge need for a Downtown festival. There is a great energy Downtown, and it has a fun feel to it,” Hill says. “As this has evolved, it has picked up its own speed and inertia. It’s got its own legs. It could be its own event, but we wanted it to be in conjunction with the boat show. People get two for the price of one.”
An admission ticket to the oyster festival will gain you entrance to the adjacent 17th Annual Southeast US Boat Show held April 12, 13 and 14 at the Metropolitan Park & Marina. This semi-separate event includes seminars, live music and hundreds of styles of boats, sailboats, yachts, kayaks and marine accessories on display and available for purchase.
Hill says there will also be demonstrations on how to drive a boat, standup paddleboard races and a “beachwear competition” – otherwise known as a bikini contest – that is not such an unexpected element to an Oyster Jam, but a feature that was a little out of place at a boat show.
And, of course, no Oyster Jam is complete without a Shuck’N Contest. Shucking will get underway at 3 pm, Sunday, to determine who can shuck 24 of the cleanest and most appetizing oysters in the fastest time. The first-place winner will receive a cash prize and the title of “The Oyster Jam Master Shucker.” Registration is available on the festival website.
“There is a lot to do,” Hill says. “I have not spoken to one person who doesn’t think it sounds like fun. There is literally something for everybody. You can even roast your own oysters. It’s authentic. That’s the most repeated theme.”
Send an email to [email protected] to participate as a judge in either event. Like the Oyster Jam Music Festival poster on your Facebook page, and the person with the most likes from their post will receive two free tickets to the VIP party on Friday, two free tickets to the VIP tent with food and drink and two seats on the Judges panel with one score sheet. For further information go to www.theoysterjam.com.