JammSammich has always believed in giving back. That’s why this year, we mark a decade of performances at one of Peoria’s longest running and favorite festivals, the Louie Louie RiverJam. The event caps off one of Peoria’s craziest parades (kazoos, business folk in boxer shorts, pink flamingoes – and that song…played on a wide variety of exotic instruments) and marks the traditional kickoff of Peoria’s Summer.
Besides the huge crowds and party atmosphere Louie Louie promises, we look forward, every year, to the opportunity to donate our time to help raise money for our favorite cause, St Jude Children’s Research Hospital. Along with the Illinois Valley Striders and AMP Media and a small army of volunteers – the event (always held the final Friday of May) donates its proceeds to St Jude to assist with research for cures for childhood illness and the rising cost of caring for St Jude kids.
This year’s parade starts at 3:30 – followed by the RiverJam at 5pm. Sammich is joined by Three and a Half Men kicking off the fun and this year’s exciting closing act, Dexter O’Neal and Funkyard. Weather permitting, it should be a fun night!
Playing in a working Midwest band has two basic annual cycles: Indoor and Outdoor.
And truthfully – it’s like two completely different businesses.
Every year, around this time (Mid-April), the weather starts to turn (sometimes unseasonably so) and our minds themselves turn to the outdoor, dancing under the stars nights to come – through roughly the end of September. Don’t get us wrong. We love playing the bars and events of the chillier season. Getting to see our favorite bar folks in their natural habitat, the excitement of tightly-packed venues – the intimacy of the the occasional stage-crasher. But, Spring and Summer bring with them a kind of magic to Sammich Inc. that simply must be experienced. In the OLDE days (yes, olde, that’s how old they were), the outdoor season meant an escape from smokey confines. Now, as the band gets older, it means the opportunity to play for a wider fanbase – including those not old enough to – or not inclined to – frequent the bar scene. Shows give way to concerts – a fact not lost on the Sammich boys. And, though we are prompted to watch the weather forecast a lot more closely than we do the rest of the year, being able to stretch out outside typically means early start and end times, bigger crowds, the occasional corn dog and fun.
Between outdoor venues – like the Peoria Riverfront CEFCU Center Stage and the beautiful Mackinaw Valley Vineyard – to private events – to local festivals and events Like Taste of Peoria and the Louie Louie RiverJam, you will be hard pressed to find JammSammich behind closed doors for about the next 5 months. Here’s a handy calendar of upcoming events between now and September. Hang it on your fridge and add the dates to your calendar:
As a band, the question we PROBABLY answer the most is:
“Do you play for weddings?”
In short, “Yes. Lots of them.”
In the last 17 years, we’ve played for roughly 70 weddings. And it’s a side of the business we absolutely love. If you listen closely, our setlist is designed to make us a perfect fit for wedding receptions with tunes spanning multiple decades and genres – perfect for the wide variety of party people found at a reception. We’d be lying if we said we EVER played for a wedding reception that wasn’t anything short of a blast.
Professionalism. That’s the most important part of working with wedding clients – and something we take very seriously. You could be the best band in the world and ruin a reception with simple missteps of etiquette. To ensure that EVERY wedding client has a great experience, we like to meet and get to know the couple several weeks prior to the event. Over dinner or drinks, we discuss the vibe they’re going for, the music they’d like played, how they met, what to expect from their guests and all of the other personal touches they want for their party. It helps to lay out expectations and, by getting to know each other, emphasize that our clients are working with a trusted service provider – not just a vendor.
In theory, our goal at a wedding is pretty similar to everywhere else we play: get butts on the dance floor and keep them there and create an experience that they’ll remember and revisit for a long time. But, we take on lots of other jobs the day of a wedding – assisting photographers in getting the best moments for pictures, announcing the bridal party and setting the tone for the rest of the night and providing support for all of the fun activities clients have planned. Our work typically starts hours before the couple says I do and we’re usually the last to leave.
Tailoring an exciting wedding performance means bringing in top-notch production to ensure that everything looks and sounds great. From the attention-grabbing thump of the wedding party arrival – to ensuring that everyone can hear the toasts – until the last note of the last song – it’s important to be backed up by great equipment!
Why do we take weddings so seriously – and love playing for them so much? Simple. We feel like invited guests into a fun, important and very special day in the lives of the families we play for. We don’t take this lightly. Just like everyone involved, we want this day to be perfect. And satisfied clients lead to new clients.
On Saturday December 19th, Sammich, along with perennial Pekin rockers, Backstreet and the power trio THREE will be joining forces with longtime Pekin club owner, Bill Grimm (Nik’s Ivanhoe), Custom Sound and Lighting and the Pekin Moose Christmas Committee for a night that we hope will help brighten the holidays for some of the area’s most needy families. It’s a tradition that Grimm started a couple of years ago and at $10 a head, you’re promised a night packed with entertainment – including BriSammich’s entry in the Best Kilt Contest – and Holiday cheer.
When our friends the Wordens told us they wanted to do some thing BIG to kick off the opening of their new destination BBQ joint in Knoxville, IL – we checked our calendar and saw that one of 2015’s “Perfect Storm” party nights was free. With Halloween falling on a Saturday – and word already spreading about Tom and Deb’s insanely good charred meats – we locked down our special appearance. Now, just need to locate some suitable costumes.
So, what do we mean when we say “destination BBQ”? Well, EVERY town has their bbq (some better than others) but, on a rare occasion, word spreads about a place – in the case of Big Catz, the reputation was built through passionate, relentless catering and a regular stint at the Knoxville Legion. We enjoyed their eats many times playing for the Knoxville High School Athletic Boosters – and always urged the Wordens to open a place. I’m sure after trying their outstanding smoked brisket and Deb’s secret-recipe beans others did too. And that’s how a place gets the “destination” label – it means folks will drive from all over the State to eat this food once word spreads. That’s good news for Big Catz – even better news for Knoxville. We’re just happy to be in the “Big Catz Circle of Trust”…the fringe benefits are gold, baby!
So, on Halloween Night, you can expect a few things:
- Insane BBQ (a couple of weekends ago, Big Catz moved 100 racks in 3 days and 75 pounds of brisket)
- Sammich in full costume – you too, hopefully. It’s been a while since we played in Knox – always great to come back and party with our pals! Will be sure to have some trick or treats with us…
- A big crowd. Early buzz on this one is indicating wall-to-wall folks. Don’t be surprised if Tom throws an apron on you and asks you to take a shift on the smoker! Seriously, though. Get there early. Eat. Drink. Party.
Visit Big Catz BBQ on Facebook and get ready for the best Halloween ever!
Come August 15th, the Metamora/Washington high school football supremacy argument will be settled – well, sort of.
The players who take the field on this night in Washington will a be a roster of alumni players – reliving days of glory under the lights while a packed stadium of hometown fans go absolutely berserk in the stands. And if you think either of these teams plan to phone it in, you’ve clearly never been to a Washington/Metamora High School Football game.
As you might imagine, this matchup has BOTH towns buzzing, thousands of tickets are selling and a historic event is brewing.
The geniuses at Five Points in Washington are seizing on the spirit of the night and throwing a MASSIVE tailgate – Sammich will be rocking the tunes 8-11pm in the 5 Points parking lot across form the stadium and admission is just $3. Lots of great tailgate food and drinks will be available for purchase and tailgaters are encouraged to bring chairs, blankets, tailgate games, giant foam fingers, etc.
On a special note, this show will mark the debut of our new bassist, George Herbst. George takes over for longtime member, Soup Wignall who moved to Pennsylvania in June. George brings a lifetime of experience with him as former keyboardist for local legends, EXIT and Bubblegum Jack, and a new energy to the stage that fans will immediately love!
Should be a BIG night on many levels! Can’t wait! Are you ready for some FOOTBALL??!!!
Given the fleeting nature of live music venues, it’s refreshing when a location emerges that not only stays solid and consistent – but, improves over time – like fine wine. Such is the case with Mackinaw Valley Vineyard, Paul and Diane Hahn’s Summer oasis. Complete with a tasting room, deck seating, an amphitheater style hillside, ample dance floor and dazzling views – along with its own custom line of locally crafted wine, the Vineyard has become an essential Summer stop for the Sammich and other popular local bands for the last several years.
“It’s unique because it’s this place out in the middle of nowhere that regularly draws huge crowds every weekend for these parties. People bring picnics, blankets, kids – it’s like a mini-festival all Summer long, and it used to be an empty field,” – according to Brian Carroll, JammSammich frontman.
Mackinaw Valley Vineyard has also become one of the area’s busiest wedding venues. It’s not uncommon for the Hahn’s to host multiple weddings in one day – then a concert that evening. Staff stays busy – and clients are happy with the results.
What makes it such a destination for Sammich fans? A combination of all of the above. The family-friendly nature of the Vineyard concerts means tons of kids (most of whom are hearing live music for the first time). The hillside gives folks room to spread out under the stars and enjoy themselves with friends in a way no other venue in the area allows. Oh, and the wine! Let’s not forget the cornerstone of the Hahn’s business. Not content to sell the same offerings every year, Paul is always dreaming up new variations – and based on the reactions of those who sample his work, he’s mastered the craft.
What it all adds up to are AMAZING nights of Summer music for Sammich and our fans. Not even a little rain can stop the fun – the Vineyard sports a massive open-ended pavilion for bringing the outside inside when weather fails to cooperate.
JammSammich appears at Mackinaw Valley Vineyard 3 times during the 2015 season:
- Saturday, June 13th Scott “Soup” Wignall’s Farewell Party
- Saturday, July 18th
- Saturday, September 5th
All shows run 7-10:45pm (rain or shine) Admission is $5 per person (Under 12 free) and reserved deck seating is available. For more details, contact the Vineyard: (309) 359-WINE
CLICK HERE to Visit the Vineyard Online