When it comes to the city of Las Vegas, there are a lot of misunderstandings about exactly what the culture represents, or if there’s even a sense of culture at all. Now, Sin City is one of, if not the most transient cities in America, so it’s easy to assume that a sense of authenticity could be a tough code to crack considering most of the people who live here, are transplants. It’s also easy to disregard any notion of community in the city when it’s biggest concerns are tourists and the largest county’s school system is notoriously embarrassing. It’s easy to write off Vegas as a “weekend town” if you only consider those things, and decide not to dig any deeper.
Ask any local who lives and breathes the culture everyday and they might smack the sh*t out of you.
If you’ve followed our coveted With All Due RESPECT. series, then you’re well aware of the talented artists making there way out of Sin City. Artists like Trade Voorhees, Kiari The Stone, Richie Bux, Rob Falco and more have blessed the list with plenty of gems that have now made it’s way outside of the city. Today, in Las Vegas, the city will celebrate the culture as well as the talents of these artists in the first annual JAMFest Art Festival & Block Party. The festival, which is headlined by RIOT TEN, underground sensations Xavier Wulf & Maxo Kream and The Based God, Lil’ B; will look to provide the city with a “for Vegas by Vegas” kind of feel, with an all-star list of local artists opening up the stage before the headliners get on.
While it takes a village to make something like this a reality, two men in particular acted as the driving forces behind the idea; music marketing guru, Yusuf Yuie and Jam Nation‘s own Zach Hammond. We sat down with Hammond to discuss the Las Vegas art scene, Jam Nation’s effect on the city and of course, JAMFest. Check out our interview with the influential promoter, below.
RESPECT. Magagzine: How’s it going, Zach?
Zach Hammond: Great!
RESPECT.: Okay, let’s get right into it. For those who don’t know, what exactly do you do?
Hammond: I do a lot of the marketing, searching for talent, networking, and creative ideas. I do a little bit of everything, but my main focus is always staying on top of new music and marketing to every human I can.
RESPECT.: With Yusuf being such a staple on social media, what were your first thoughts when he said he wanted to work with you?
Hammond: Honestly, I had no idea what to expect. It was super random. We met in a parking lot. He sold me when we locked in Denzel Curry to perform in Vegas on the first day we linked up. It was a huge blessing in my life. I’ve only known him for less than a year and we already accomplished so much together.
RESPECT.: What exactly do you and Yusuf do, together?
Hammond: We do almost everything together from picking out venues to creating the line ups. Everything you see is primarily a joint decision. Sometimes it takes a long time to finally agree on a decision , but thats what makes our relationship great. We push each other to not bring mediocre events and concepts to the Vegas scene.
We want people to come to the event with a open mind to experience new music. We don’t want to attract the main stream listeners who are closed minded to different styles of music and only come because of the hype.
– Zach Hammond
RESPECT.: Talk about JamNation and what it means to the city of Las Vegas.
Hammond: Honestly, I dont know what it means to Vegas. I never asked people for what their view of Jam Nation is. My own personal view is that it’s great. The events are a great place to come meet people with similar interest and it’s a great way to escape from the every day hustle of the Las Vegas lifestyle. Every walk of life always feels welcome at our events. Now more and more bigger name people are starting to notice what Jam Nation is creating and the more that happens , the more of a spot light it will be on the Vegas scene in general.
RESPECT.: Talk about what JAMFest is and what made you guys want to pull something like this together?
Hammond: The whole point of starting Jam Nation and hosting all of our underground parties was to eventually work our way to hosting our own festival. Myself and a lot of the core members of Jam Nation grew up going to all the festivals, concerts, and underground events. We are huge music heads so it inspired us to one day be able to build our own festival line up, make it unique, and give something for the music heads.
RESPECT.: JAMFest boasts one of the more diverse line ups that I’ve seen. On there, you guys range from EDM DJ Riot Ten, all the way to somebody like Xavier Wulf, who’s live show is said to be legendary. What made you guys opt for more fan engaging artists like Wulf and Maxo Kream as opposed to just trying to recruit the big names?
— JamNationLV (@Jamnationlv) March 17, 2017
Hammond: Because the festival is called Just About Music, we wanted to focus on bringing independent artist to Vegas. We want this festival to support the underground scene not only locally, but on the national level as well. Xavier Wulf has been making huge noise and the main reason we specifically went for him is exactly what you said; his live show is legendary. We want people to come to the event with a open mind to experience new music. We don’t want to attract the main stream listeners who are closed minded to different styles of music and only come because of the hype.
RESPECT.: Obviously the big draw for the festival this year is Lil’ B, who will be giving his first ever performance in Las Vegas, how did that all come about? & What does it mean to be the duo to finally get the Based God to the kids of Sin City?
Hammond: One of LIL B’s friends came to one of our pop up parties, the 2000’s throwback party to be exact, she said the vibes were so dope and the party was so dope that she told LIL B about it. He’s never been to Vegas, so it was really convincing for him to come perform at Jam Fest. He keeps himself extremely rare so being the first people to bring the Based God to Vegas is unreal to me. It really means a lot, Lil B has inspired a lot of people from my generation, Jam Nation would’nt exist without him. He made me believe I can accomplish anything off social media and really spread a message while being independent and staying true to yourself. I hope the kids that attend the event get the same inspiration.
RESPECT.: Why was it so important for you guys to make this an all ages event?
Hammond: Making the show all ages was important mainly because growing up in Vegas, it was rare to have an event like this that I could look forward to. I would either have to go to California to go to a dope event or go on the Internet to see what’s going on. I wanted to create a annual event that could unite all age groups of the city to come for the music. Another reason is so that the younger generation can watch some of these amazing local Vegas acts that are only 19-21 on stage performing and get inspired by them to chase their passion in music. From there, create a snowball effect in Vegas of artists that take music seriously because now there is a platform they can set goals to perform at!
Get your tickets for JAMFest here, and be sure to pop out to the event if you’re in the Las Vegas area.