Run could be over for Jax River Jams free concert series

Declining sponsorship revenue and rising costs of production have produced challenges, Downtown Vision Inc. CEO Jake Gordon said.

  • By Ric Anderson
  • | 6:22 p.m. June 10, 2024
  • | 4 Free Articles Remaining!
The logo for the 2024 Jax River Jams, which concluded April 25.
The logo for the 2024 Jax River Jams, which concluded April 25.
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A concert series that has drawn tens of thousands of people to Downtown Jacksonville during its four years in existence could be scaled back or discontinued next year.

Downtown Vision Inc. is evaluating the future of Jax River Jams amid declining sponsorship funding and rising costs of production, DVI CEO Jake Gordon said June 10 during a meeting of the Jacksonville City Council Special Committee on the Future of Downtown.

Gordon said the financial situation created challenges for planners to put on a high-quality show. 

“We definitely spent more than we brought in this year,” he said.

Jake Gordon

DVI produces the show in partnership with the city Division of Sports and Entertainment. As both DVI and the city move toward finalization of their annual budgets at the end of September, outcomes of the evaluation of Jax River Jams include keeping it as is, shutting it down or adopting cost-saving measures such as reducing dates or acts. 

The free concert series, which began in 2021, offers acts from different genres of music in successive weeks. At this year’s event, held on Thursdays in April, the rotation was country, alternative, hip-hop and pop.

The event pairs national acts with regional and local performers. Headliners in the series have included 1990s R&B chart-toppers Boyz II Men and ‘90s rock band Sugar Ray. 

Jax River Jams started at Riverfront Plaza but was moved to the Ford on Bay property at 288 E. Bay St. in 2024 because of construction at the plaza, the site of a city park project that got underway in mid-2023. 

In October 2023, the Downtown Investment Authority board approved a $36,000 payment to DVI to help bring in musical talent for the event. 

Organizers said Jax River Jams drew 33,000 fans over its four weeks in 2023. In 2024, attendance sank to 15,000 partly due to the second week of performances being canceled for weather-related reasons. 

Gordon said DVI regularly evaluates its events with an eye toward improving them or determining whether the money being used on them would be better spent on other events.

He said current plans call for the monthly Sip and Stroll event on the Southbank to go on hiatus until September partly because of construction along the Riverwalk. First Wednesday Art Walk will continue uninterrupted. 



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