Jax transplants take a grassroots approach to promoting local artists with Neighborhood Jams

Lily Snowden

 There is no doubt that Jacksonville has a large local music scene. However, most of these bands have found it impossible to find their “big break” or even a stage to play on that isn’t in the living room of a house show. Challenges related to the pandemic and the high cost of equipment have discouraged many bands from performing recently, as well. Fortunately, two Jacksonville-based promoters, who also happen to be twins, are working to help local musicians and artists get the exposure they desperately need.

 Originally from New Smyrna Beach, a town with an almost non-existent network of musicians, Trevor and Travis moved to Jacksonville in 2018 with one idea in mind: create a platform for local artists to grow and showcase their talents. The idea of creating a music event focusing on homegrown acts was born in 2017, but after arriving in Jacksonville, they hit a roadblock.

“We had the idea we wanted to do some sort of local, backyard-ish show, but the question we kept coming back to was: ‘Where are we going to do this?’ We lived in an apartment at the time, and obviously we couldn’t do it there,” Trevor recalled. “Luckily, we started telling one of our friends Nick Eastman about the idea, and he was like, ‘Dude, let’s just do it in my backyard!’”

On Oct. 3, 2020, Neighborhood Jams was born.

The show consisted of four bands, and the setlist was scribbled on a piece of paper just hours before it started. Around 100 people showed up to the backyard jam that also included a water slide. The brothers were happily surprised with the turnout but still felt as though they had not accomplished what they had set out to achieve. They were looking to create a space for local talent to shine, not throw a typical Jax Beach frat party.

The next show was a different story. By this time, the Hall brothers had moved into a house in Jacksonville Beach with a large backyard that was also the perfect place to host a show. Even more people showed up this time, and each show after that had a higher turnout than the last. The backyard shows continued until neighbors started calling the police and tried to have them shut down every time. Trevor and Travis were frustrated but knew they wanted to keep pursuing their mission. Then came Kona.

Having spent years skating at Stone Edge in South Daytona, the brothers were already familiar with Jacksonville’s famed skatepark. After moving to town, they became heavily involved at Kona Skatepark and realized live music and skateboarding were a natural fit. In 2021, Trevor and Travis were offered a three-show agreement.

As with the backyard shows, attendance at Kona events grew as word spread about the event, which also included arts vendors and food trucks and even more bands. It was exactly what the brothers were trying to achieve. People of all ages and lifestyles were attending the event. Local artists were given a place to showcase their talents. On July 2, 2021, Neighborhood Jams held its largest show ever with just over 400 attendees.

Although Neighborhood Jams has gained a loyal following, Trevor and Travis are still focused on staying true to their original goal: creating an event series focused around empowering local artists.

 “We may extend to areas besides Jacksonville, but our goal is and always will be to provide a platform for these local starving artists,” the twins agreed. “We never want to feel like we’re selling out or make people feel like we’re trying to make money. We never even wanted to make money! We’re trying to create an experience for people. Not create profit. ”

 The next Neighborhood Jams show has yet to be announced but is expected to happen before summer. Find more about their mission and check out photos of their events on Instagram at @Neighborhoodjams and @Bunchacoolpeople.