A popular music festival created to celebrate the medical challenges of a local resident will expand into a larger event this year.
The SamJam Music & Brewfest is scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 22 from noon until midnight at the Macoupin County Fairgrounds just north of Carlinville. In addition to a lineup of high-quality musical talent, the event will expand to feature over fifty craft beers for tasting and purchase, food trucks, a bags tournament, and reduced gate admission.
The event, created in 2014, honors Sam Oswald of Carlinville, who has endured a host of treatments related to neurofibromatosis (NF) over the last twenty-eight years, including spinal fusion, two brain tumors, shunt revisions, bone grafting on both legs, knee surgery, dermal tumor removal, and eye surgery.
Recently, Sam underwent two surgeries for a rare tumor in his leg, along with radiation and chemotherapy. He is left with a lower leg that no longer functions. Sam, who remains cancer-free, lives independently.
NF is a disorder that strikes one in every 2,500 people, but is relatively unknown to most people. In its first four years, SamJam donated $51,000 to NF, contributing the funds to NF Midwest, Inc., which provides research grants and support services in Illinois, Missouri, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, and Wisconsin.
“The original SamJam was held to celebrate Sam’s successful medical treatment,” said Pete Oswald II, a festival organizer and Sam’s older brother. “SamJam is a celebration of Sam but, more importantly, it provides awareness of NF and raises money for NF research and support services for patients and their families.”
This year’s SamJam will feature music all day and evening, with bands from around the nation. “We are continuing our goal of presenting top-quality music,” said organizer Peter Oswald, who is Sam’s father. “We have six great bands coming this year, representing a great mix of progressive bluegrass, Americana, and roots music.”
The lineup begins with Grassfed of Kansas City, Kan., who will play from noon to 2 p.m. They are followed by a Carlinville band, the Sons of the Mother Road, from 2-4 p.m., with the Hillary Fitz Band of St. Louis performing from 4-6 p.m.
From 6-8 p.m., the Ginstrings of Minneapolis, Minn. will be on stage, followed by the headliner, Chain Station of Denver, from 8-10 p.m. The final show of the night will be Still Shine of Peoria from 10 p.m. to midnight.
The 2018 SamJam Music & Brewfest is presented by SamJam4NF, Inc., a Carlinville-based nonprofit organization, and Founders Brewing of Grand Rapids, Mich.
Sponsors include the CNB Bank & Trust, Wall Street Financial Group, Central Illinois Steel Company, The Printing Source, Willie’s 109 West, Fleming, Tawfall, & Company, Heinz Furniture, Oswald Insurance, Friends of Andy Manar, and 1st Choice Renovations.
Gates open at 11:30 a.m. on September 22. The event will be held in the Bates Building on the fairgrounds, rain or shine. Food concessions, craft beers, a tub auction, and the bags tournament will be available throughout the event.
Admission is $15 for adults, $10 for students, and free for children under 12. A VIP Taster’s ticket is available for $30 and includes a souvenir tasting glass, sample tickets, and a T-shirt. For more information, visit www.SamJam4NF.com.
Tom Emery is a freelance writer and historical researcher from Carlinville, Ill. He may be reached at 217-710-8392 or [email protected].