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Kyle Szegedi/Unsplash
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The Jambus Experience: A Music Festival On Wheels

Picture of Laura Rojas
Updated: 10 January 2017
Imagine hopping on a magical musical bus that leaves from Paris, to any place in Europe. Musicians and music lovers alike are welcome to join, sharing the same passion and meeting new people. Culture Trip headed out on the Jambus Experience to create new ties, mingle amongst artists, and form a musical community.

The Jambus Experience is a moving festival that brings artists and music lovers together, offering an approachable and unrivaled musical experience. The Jambus Collective is an alliance of artists that believe that music can bring people together, inspire, and change lives. More importantly, they believe that the Jambus can travel to the heart of millions, promoting independent artists; and create connections throughout Europe, and the world.

Courtesy of Laura Rojas

Their objective is to create magical musical tours, build a community and develop artists – mainly, independent european musicians. Their goal is to take this experience throughout Europe, touring with around ten Jambus Collective artists who will join in the adventure, participating in the workshops and venues of the chosen city. Founded in April 2015, they have been hosting monthly events throughout Paris, recruiting local artists at Le China; and consequently, joining other artists from around the world on stage. It’s all about the musical spirit, the artists have to be willing to partake in something greater.

It all started at a secret cavern in the heart of Saint-Michel. Good musicians came because they would see others, and if you were new, you were welcomed. Two years ago, Jambus co-founder Olivier was trying to find himself as a musician, touring around Europe, but finding that the open mics weren’t really welcoming. After meeting with the musicians who gathered for jams by the Parisian quais something truly magical unfolded and in 2016 they decided they should bring it on tour. This is how the Jambus began.

This is an experience that would also help finance the independent artists. The idea was to go one step further, by involving the audience, now that we are in a crowd-funding era. There has always been some kind of myth and magic about artists’ on tour, and this time they would be part of the collective artists, engage in and live the Jambus Experience.

Last summer, the Jambus Collective toured 10 european countries; hosting 15 concerts, in 20 days, with 8 local artists. “We had something special in Paris…I felt like we should bring it around Europe!”, says, Olivier Domengie, co-founder and president of the Jambus Collective. “So often, it gets lonely when you’re an artist touring on your own, touring together, as friends and musicians, bringing that ‘vibe’ of Paris, is how the Jambus was born”, answered Peter Deaves, co-founder and vice-president.

Olivier, who has been hosting jam sessions throughout Paris for the past four years, developing links amongst artists, continued: “There are so many open mics around Paris where you have to sign-up. We wanted to engage the artists and bring a crowd together, see musicians mingling.” Peter added; “I’m a huge hippy at heart, a believer in Music Therapy. We just want people to come together and be happy.”

Energetic Peter loves being the host, welcoming and discovering new artists, along with Olivier, they entertain and encourage the audience during the show. For Olivier, the party really begins at the end. He’s foreseeing the logistics and how all these people will come together. Kindly referred to as “Papa Ours” (Papa Bear) by musicians and friends around him, he puts his whole heart into the experience.

On May 14, 2016, 60 musicians and music lovers (10 from the JamBus Collective) gathered at Place de la République and hopped aboard the Jambus to take part in a musical journey to Amsterdam. The people of Amsterdam were touched and the collaboration was fantastic. It inspired Dutch artists at the venue to do one themselves in Paris, later on in the year. The Jambus Experience planted a seed in Amsterdam, and for those who took part all the way from Paris, it was life-changing.

They found great joy, came together as a Jamly (Jam + Family). Songs from the Jambus Collective, echoed loud: “Don’t be afraid… ‘Cause you’re not alone” and “If you need somebody tonight, I’ll be there.” Gospels from the heart, the artists sang around the piano in a dimly-lit ambiance which a gave a light, hope, and joy to the audience who took part.

Courtesy of Jonas Leather @ JamBus Experience

It’s more than just a group of great voices on wheels, but people willing to share, return to their passions and invite new people into what they love. Three days of music, workshops and passion… and this is only the beginning.

Here are some testimonies from people who took part:

“Eight hours on the bus were gone in the blink of an eye. Music and travel come together, you can see the smile on everyone’s face, people are happy to take part on this adventure. What is music but sharing moments and happiness.”

“All the people are really different, they all come from different places. Music gathers people, from any genre, any age, any background.” – Estelle (in charge of marketing and design for the JamBus).

Some artists stayed at the venue, others on the Jambus; where 18 of them played, composed, shared connections. You grow close in such a short while, because you share the same passions and develop a tight knit circle.

We’ve all been to festivals, jam sessions, close musical gatherings; but to take part in something greater than yourself, to come together and feel the chills of how music can take you back to what you love, and learn and grow from others who share your same passion — this is an unmatched experience that will last forever.

The next Jambus Experience will be even greater… Will you join in?

Courtesy of Laura Rojas