12 Bands of Christmas expands into festival

Event to aid cancer patients moves to Augusta Common



The ninth annual 12 Bands of Christmas Festival is developing into a highly anticipated holiday celebration in the Augusta area, according to the event’s organizer.

Joe Stevenson, the event’s executive producer, said the lineup will provide a diverse representation of area music.

The 12 bands will perform from noon to 8 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 8, at Augusta Common. Tickets are $10 with ages 12 and under admitted free. See 12bands.org for details.

This year marks the first time the show won’t be held at the Imperial Theater, Stevenson said. “It provides for a more family atmosphere,” he said.

Stevenson also emphasizes that 12 Bands is more than just a one-time holiday affair.

The concert and other activities raise money to help young cancer patients at Medical College of Georgia Children’s Medical Center and their families.

Stevenson said he’s very appreciative of the musicians.

“Throughout the year, we hold activities as a music outreach to assist families – many of them who struggle with financial challenges,” Stevenson said.

This year’s 12 Bands lineup: Tara Scheyer and the Mud Puppy Band, Impulse Ride, the J.A.M.P. Masters (James Brown Academy of Musik Pupils), The Ramblin’ Fevers, Black Swan Lane, People Who Must (the band’s first recording in 13 years), the Jeremy Graham Band, Granny’s Gin, Dirty Realists, The Mason Jars, Jesup Dolly and Funk You.

Mike Burress, a guitarist with the Jeremy Graham Band, said he and his bandmates really appreciate performing for the benefit.

“As a father, my heart goes out to these children facing cancer challenges. Our band is more than grateful to take part in such a worthy cause.”

In October, Burress joined Stevenson and other musicians at a performance at the Children’s Medical Center.

The Jeremy Graham Band formed in 2005 and plays music ranging from Merle Haggard to Metallica, Burress said.

Songwriter-guitarist Jake Guinn will join his Granny’s Gin members on the concert lineup.

“It’s for a great cause and we’re all happy to help,” said Guinn, a married father of a 2-year-old daughter.

The groove-driven Granny’s Gin will play a Guinn-penned piece called Under the Mistletoe during their performance, he said.

Their song and the 11 others selected for this year will be featured at the festival and can be heard all year on The 12 Bands of Christmas CD. It costs $10; see 12bands.org for a list of retailers.

“The money we raise can benefit many people,” Stevenson said.

One family the organization helped this year is the Murrays.

A year ago, Keith Murray’s son, Caleb 12, was stricken with a rare cancer known as Ewings Sarcoma.

Murray commends Stevenson’s organization for assisting his family with mortgage payments so they could focus on the escalating medical costs associated with Caleb’s recovery.

Since June, the 12 Bands organization has assisted 16 families, while donating more than $7,000 in utility payments, food and medical assistance, Stevenson said.

Murray and his wife, Holly, are happy their son’s health is improving.

“Caleb’s cancer is in remission. His hair is growing back, and we’re thankful for the 12 Bands organization,” said Murray, who shares his love for music with both sons Caleb and Joshua, 9. Murray is a music director at New Hope Worship Center in Grovetown.

“Caleb is cancer-free and it’s truly a blessing,” Murray said.

Pop Rocks: Ninth 12 Bands of Christmas CD celebrates Augusta music

WHEN: Noon-8 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 8 (Santa visits from 1-3 p.m.)
Noon-12:25 p.m.:
Tara Scheyer
12:40-1:05 p.m.:
Impulse Ride
1:20-1:45 p.m.:
J.A.M.P. Masters
2-2:25 p.m.:
The Ramblin Fevers
2:40-3:05 p.m.
Black Swan Lane
3:20-3:45 p.m.:
People Who Must
4-4:25 p.m.:
Jeremy Graham Band
4:40-5:05 p.m.:
Granny’s Gin
5:20-5:45 p.m.:
Dirty Realists
6-6:25 p.m.:
Mason Jars
6:40-7:05 p.m.:
Jesup Dolly
7:20-7:45 p.m.:
Funk You

WHERE: Augusta Common

TICKETS: $10, ages 12 and under free; 12Bands.org and at the gate


The 12 Bands of Christmas is a nonprofit arts organization that provides financial support to families whose children are being treated at Medical College of Georgia Children’s Medical Center. Patients at the medical center also are treated to a musical performance by a local artist each month.

Sales of its annual 12 Bands of Christmas CD and a performance by all 12 local artists on the CD raise money to benefit patients and their families. CDs are $10 and available from www.12Bands.org or through local retailers.