Last updated: September 06. 2013 4:16PM - 27 Views

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Gazette intern

South Sandusky Street will play host to annual community music fest Jeff’s Jam Saturday from 4 to 12 p.m.

Featuring musical acts from around Ohio, Jeff’s Jam offers attendees a variety of genres including blues, jazz, country, rock and several others. Proceeds from the event will benefit music education by providing funds for instruments, scholarships and music lessons to needy children. The event will also involve food and beverages, games of cornhole and a silent auction.

Jeff’s Jam began in 2000 to honor the memory of Jeff Meyer, who owned the Backstretch Bar until his death by terminal illness. Jeff Meyer was known for his love of music and commitment to the future of the local music community. His wife Joanne now owns the Backstretch and organizes Jeff’s Jam to carry on his mission to promote local musicians.

In 2007, Jeff’s Jam moved out of the Backstretch Bar and onto the street. This year, a 30-foot stage at the corner of Sandusky and William streets will hold the performers while South Sandusky Street will be fenced off to accommodate the crowds.

Local talents such as the William St Trio and Left of Center will grace the stage along with Columbus artists Boals and Soals and Cincinnati’s G Miles Blues Band. As always, members of the Delaware Music Hall of Fame will convene and, after much debate, select new members. New Hall of Fame members are nominated based on musical prowess and contribution to the local music community.

Joanne Meyer said Jeff’s Jam serves to showcase the Hall of Fame artists, but showcasing newer and less well-known acts is also an important goal.

“We’ll always do the Hall of Fame jam, it is to honor these people who’ve given so much to the musical community, but it’s also nice to be able to pull some acts that people aren’t going to be able to have an opportunity to see,” Joanne Meyer said.

Jeff’s Jam is funded by sponsors such as Jed’s Rentals, Workflow Data Systems and Joanne Meyer’s own Backstretch Bar.

“We have been very fortunate to be able to, every year, get enough sponsors to cover all expenses as of the day of the event,” Joanne Meyer said. “This year, we have a couple of real large sponsors.”

Delaware businesses have also shown their support through donations to the Jeff’s Jam silent auction.

“The downtown merchants are incredibly supportive,” Joanne Meyer said. “We have probably over 100 articles for the silent auction and I bet we have thousands of dollars worth of merchandise that will be available for sale.”

For more than 10 years, Jeff Meyer’s memory has been celebrated through live music and civic unity. Joanne Meyer is content to know her husband would be proud to see what has become of his namesake festival.

“He was very involved in the music community, but he also really loved kids,” Joanne Meyer said. “He would be smiling big time to know that it has grown into such a nice thing that we’re helping out kids and music, because those were his two loves.”

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