On most Thursdays for the last four years, musicians and music fans have been gathering at the historic Occidental Hotel in Buffalo to enjoy camaraderie, catch up with each other and to enjoy some live music.
From humble beginnings with just a handful of people, the Thursday Night Jam, as it has come to be known, has grown into a weekly tradition not only for locals, but for many travelers that stumble into town. A few even make the jam an integral part of their vacation plans. Co-organizer Lynn Young explains how the jam began.
The musicians that take part in the jam volunteer their time and lend their talents to a fun, community-based happening. People come from all over the region to enjoy the Thursday Jam.
A tradition that started early in the Jam's history was the tip jar. Young said from the beginning, the musicians felt like the right thing to do was donate whatever proceeds they raised to a worthy cause. So far, more than $22,000 has been raised and donated by the Thursday Night Jam, according to co-organizer David Stewart.
Stewart said area organizations are always willing to help find a worthy cause to donate to, and people in the community always have their ears to the ground for anything or anyone in need throughout the area.
Young said the jam has become more than just musicians and listeners enjoying a musical experience. It has become a reason for friends and members of the community to get together in fellowship.
Young likened the jam to a traditional community-based event you might see and hear in musical communities throughout the world.
The music varies from bluegrass to old fiddle music to country to old-timey music -- anything acoustic and considered “Americana,” according to Young.
The Occidental Hotel Thursday Night Jams begin at 7 pm in the saloon and everyone, including pickers, are always welcome.