On the Radar – Summer Jam: Bringing Support to the Local Music Scene

On July 26th, 2019, The Garage in Burnsville, Minnesota hosted a music event called Summer Jam where five local rap artists and producers including, JXT, Artistic Corpse, Str8 Blessed Music and Key Rhymes were able to perform.

These artists were able to showcase their music to friends and family while promoting upcoming music and offer pre-orders for their new merchandise and music.

The event was presented by Afton Music, “a concert production company that focuses on booking local and regional unsigned artists of all genres at music venues in their home region” (“What We Do.” Afton, 2019).

These musicians were able to network and share their talents to a variety of spectators, and each artist gave viewers a unique and personal insight into their music.

Without events like these, local artistry and music can’t progress and artists may never get the chance to promote what they have worked hard to create or potentially gain enough support to land jobs.

Every artist, musician, and writer started out in their hometown and without support they may never reach their goals. Summer Jam allowed musicians and photographers to present themselves and their art to others.

Str8 Blessed performing at the 2019 Summer Jam in Burnsville, MN.

At Summer Jam I was able to see to a performance by Str8 Blessed Music, a rap group created by Dre Blessed and Ace Wild. I was interested in their performance because the duo made songs that were catchy and erythematic, while also aware of cultural biases and racism towards the black community.

Ace Wild deliberately did not participate in lyrics that could be seen as culturally inappropriate, such as the n-word and a concert attendee, Henry Marvin, stated that: “it shows his respect and understanding of the art form.”

After attending Summer Jam, I understand the importance of events like these because it gives artists a chance to showcase the music and art that they have worked extremely hard to create.

Summer Jam was filled with artists supporting other artists and people that were excited to listen to local music and come together in a safe, energetic environment.

The Garage posted about the event, saying, “just like all your favorite acts, Afton artists are hustling to build a community of performers and fans that grow the music culture in your city.” I don’t think the vibe of this show could have been explained any better (Afton Presents: The Garage 7/26, The Garage, July 2019).

This comment just goes to show that these events truly allow people to come together and find support, stressing the importance of keeping events like Summer Jam alive so that artist can collaborate, grow and learn from each other while showcasing their talents and unique backgrounds.

Key Rhymes performing at the 2019 Summer Jam in Burnsville, MN.

Supporting local artistry is important to keep our culture rich and unique. Going to events like these is vital in giving artists opportunities to flourish and for supporters to come together in a positive environment full of music, art, and love.

The evening ended with the artist Key Rhymes performing to a room of supportive faces, familiar friends and family, and a positive energy that could be felt throughout the room. The vibe left a lasting impression on the people who came together to keep local music alive in their community.

JXT performing at the 2019 Summer Jam in Burnsville, MN.


Written by Lauren Zimitsch

Twin-Cities based photographer focusing on color, experience, and storytelling. Find me on Instagram at @kylo_lau_ren and let me know what you think!


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