JFK, SHS grads get in free to Jam Fest 2011

Published 10:12 pm Wednesday, March 30, 2011

A Suffolk native is at the helm of a concert in Watkins Glen, N.Y., that promises to pack the field with music and race fans alike.

Jam Fest 2011 will be held Aug. 12 to 14, the same weekend NASCAR’s premier circuits are in town to race at Watkins Glen International. Anybody who brings proof they attended John F. Kennedy High School or Suffolk High School gets in free to the concert all three days.

“We’re expecting between 20,000 to 30,000 people,” said William VanHorn, who attended JFK High School.

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VanHorn owns a swath of land near the racetrack, and in past years has rented it for paintball to race fans on the big weekend.

“The last two years, I got to thinking maybe I can get a few bands,” VanHorn said.

He started organizing the event and before he knew it, “a few” turned into 23, with even more in negotiations to sign up.

Four major record labels are signed up to attend the event, including Virgin Records and Shady Records. Most of the bands are from the Northeast region of the country, save for a couple of specialty groups from Italy and Australia.

A portion of the proceeds from the event will be donated to a New York cerebral palsy charity.

“The music varies from rock-and-roll to Southern rock to country blues to jazz,” VanHorn said. “We even have one rapper coming.”

Tickets are $75 for the full three days, which includes camping and parking for one vehicle. One-day tickets are $30 but do not include parking.

For more information, visit www.jamfest2011.org.