Harvest Jam skatepark of Athens Georgia: on the scene report

After spending the morning at the Tumbling Creek MTB Rumble, I headed out to Skatepark of Athens for the 2nd Annual BMX Harvest Jam and rock-n-roll throwdown (click to see flyer/poster). I had never been to SPOA since it is kind of a haul to get there, but I think I’ll make a visit where I actually do some riding there soon. The park is pretty cool:

Tumbling Creek started a little late, so I didn’t get at SPOA til around 1ish. Plenty of riders on hand for the session, and things were already looking pretty sick. I caught the last two songs from Subrig Destroyer.

Holy crap they had an evil evil sound. It was also a LOT of sound for just a drummer and a bass player, but what really put it over the top was the bizarro vocal effect the guy had running. The recordings on their myspace page don’t do justice to how they sounded live. It almost reminded me of the techstep stuff I used to DJ in a way (only much slower)…he would get these basslines running, and run them over and over again til way past when you wanted a change…but by holding the same pattern for so long when a change did come it seemed to matter so much more. Thats what a lot of my tech step D+B records used to do. It was annoying in a really thick enjoyable way. I’m actually thinking about heading to Lennys to see these guys again a few days after my birthday. They were my favorite band of the day.

Once Subrig finished, the bunnyhop contest started. I haven’t been to a contest in probably like 20 years, so I don’t know anything about how contests are run these days, so I was pretty suprised that the riders were doing 180 bunnyhops.

The winner cleared 40 inches, maybe 42, I don’t remember exactly…it was pretty freakin high.

Over in the far corner of the park, folks had brought out a few old school rides for a show and shine. Click on the thumbs to see the full size:

Big ups to the old school builders man…they brought some really sweet sweet rides out for folks to see. There was also a GT Mach One there that had the Elina Lightning bolt seat I want for my fixed gear, in exactly the color I want…

One of the other bikes had a pair of Oakley 3 grips, which was definitely worth an upclose shot…

Don’t they look like ski pole grips? Unobtainium is just a marketing word Oakley made up right? I dunno you tell me.

Random jamming was happening all day. I pretty much don’t know any of the riders names except this guy, Nick Thurmond:

I’ve never met the guy but I’ve seen him at Duncan Creek before. He always seems to connect one more trick together on a line than anyone else. He’s pretty sick.

Eventually the second band got started. I tried to remember their name but every time I try to put my finger on it I keep saying “Vidalia”, like the onion, but I know that wasn’t it.

Loved the music, didn’t like the vocals. The singer was doing the whole growly ultra deep monster voice metal bit, which is fine except it was dry, straight out of the mic, so the levels were all opver the place. I’ll never understand why every person in bands spends loot to get a good sound, but the singers show up with no personalized vocal rig, and just use whatever mic the sound company provides, straight into the mixing board. If I was a singer, I’d have my own compressor, prolly a single rack space effects module, and my own mic. Why leave your sound up to the sound guys completely? Instrumentally though, they were solid. If they can lock down a good vocal rig, it’d be just that much better though.

Next up was the Big Air contest off the 7ft quarter. There were two age classes. I don’t know who is who or what class they were in, so I’ll just let the pics speak for themselves.

Big Air is always a crowd pleaser.

After big air it was more random jamming til the third band, Choptop, was set up to play.

These guys made me want to drink beer and smash shit. To me they sounded old school late 80’s punk mixed with sensible song structure/straight ahead rocknroll kind of stuff. The singer made better use of the dry/no effects mic than the second band did, and the between songs banter got a few chuckles from the crowd.

Next up was Best Trick contest. I think about 20 people entered. This was an interesting part of the jam for me because folks weren’t doing their best tricks straight away because it was an elimination kind of thing. There were to be two rounds, so the really heavy stuff wouldn’t come til later. I tried to get a good place to take pics but the riders used all different aspects of the park, so not everyone was over by me when they did their thing. Also, alot of these tricks weren’t the kind of thing that a single photo could really capture…they were more the kind of thing a video or a rapid film advance motor would be good for. The one thing I was able to catch was a few shots of this guy jumping OUT OF THE PARK:

Pretty freakin wicked. He landed it straight away, but since each person got a few tries at their trick he tried to up the ante and do the same jump with a 360…

Obviously it didn’t work out so well, so they let him give it another go

He got the air and the spin, but over rotated and ended uo eating it pretty bad in the gravel driveway landing area. He stayed down for a few tense seconds before he got up and walked it off. Everyone was pretty stoked on the effort though, and he did land it when he tried the jump straight on, so the run wasn’t a total waste.

Unfortunately, the sun and the lack of beer got to me by this point and I decided to pack it in and split. I’m sure the rest of the day went well. I don’t know the promoters name but he was running around all day giving out stuff from the sponsors to everyone. I don’t think a single person walked away empty handed.

Also, during best trick, I noticed that there were a few guys that entered that didn’t really have anything giant to offer, but they rode anyway. The crowd, and the other riders, gave them some appreciation for their efforts too, which was great. The way to create more riders is to NOT make people feel intimidated to TRY, which is how the best trick contest came off to me. My hat is off to the organizers for that.

Hopefully I’ll get some riding time in at SPOA between now and the next Harvest Jam, and I’ll actually log a bit of time on the bike at the next one.

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One thought on “Harvest Jam skatepark of Athens Georgia: on the scene report

  1. Ride Bikes says:

    […] I wonder if they are having a “Harvest Jam” BMX contest at Skatepark of Athens this year? I am so out of the loop. The 2008 one was a blast and I got some great photos. […]

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