FIVE QUESTIONS WITH JON SAUNDERS: Enhancing the local music scene

April 14, 2013 

What can people expect from the Frogtown Hollow Jam, scheduled for April 19-20 at Woodruff Park in downtown Columbus?

It is a life-changing experience of a good time. You have to come to believe. The music festival includes genres like jazz, blues, rock and roll, country and pop-rock. Friday's lineup features Departure, a Journey tribute band. You'll also see musicians like Peggy Jenkins, Neal Lucas and DJ Roonie G.

This year, we have about 40 vendors. Expect a hot air balloon ride, petting zoo, mechanical bull and more. Concessions will also be sold. We have a huge area for kids with train rides, inflatables and more. Guests 14 and younger get in for free, so we're making it affordable for our community. For everybody else, it's $10 a day.

You and your wife organize the Frogtown Hollow Jam. What's the hardest thing about the process?

Finding the right folks to believe in your dream. I'm still a professional musician and I have a network that helps me find the right acts. Every year, I get more and more agents and bands sending me their information because they want to play Frogtown. I try to pick what people would like to hear. My goal is to keep people having a good time so they'll stay.

What's missing from the local music scene?

Nothing. The Valley area has been blessed with amazing talent for decades upon decades. The scene here is wonderful. There's a lot of places for musicians to play. There's a lot of folks that want to play and they have that opportunity. Columbus has a huge history of professional artists coming out of this area.

My band, Whisky Bent, was recently at Scruffy Murphy's in Columbus

for a show. I met a musician from Chicago who was in Columbus to play at The Foxhole, another local venue. He said, "Man, I love this city. I can't believe all the amazing bands... I want to live here." It was a compliment to our town.

Throughout the course of your career, how many times do you think you've played "Sweet Home Alabama"?

I think I've played "Sweet Home Alabama" at least 10,000 times. Some nights we get the request more than once, and then some nights we don't get the request. I still enjoy playing it.

What's the best-kept secret in the Chattahoochee Valley?

I think it's Macon Road BBQ. My wife's dad owns it. They've been around for over 30 years. It's kind of a low-key place. It's a best-kept secret because you don't hear commercials about them all the time.

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