Jungle Jam

Hotel Docelunas, Jaco Costa Rica

January 16-19 2014

Jungle Jam, taking place in Costa Rica January 16-19, is a sunny getaway with some of your favorite bands only a short ways from the beach.  A festival for not only those traveling, but also residents of Costa Rica, Jungle Jam offers a unique experience that is open to the beautiful area instead of closed off at a resort.  After being told about the festival by Dopapod, our interest was piqued and we contacted founder Eric Freitas to learn more.

How did the first Jungle Jam come about in 2010? 

I came to Jaco Costa Rica in 2008 for a concert that Mike Gordon of Phish put on with Bill Kreutzmann of the Grateful Dead and Scott Murawski of Max Creek. The concert was a benefit for the Jaco schools. I fell in love with the country and ended up staying for 3 weeks. I spent more on changing my plane ticket than I did on the original plane ticket. After that I wanted to find a way to live in Costa Rica and bring live music to the country.

I haven’t been able to find much in my research about your past lineups besides 2013, what are some bands that played the festival the first couple of years? 

Max Creek, Bill Kreutzmann, Ryan Montbleau Band and Zach Deputy

You have a lot of jam bands on the lineup, who is personally your favorite band?  

It would be hard to narrow it down to one band I have so many bands I love. Today I will say the Alabama 3. Tomorrow it might be different.

What is a favorite festival besides Jungle Jam that you’ve been to? 

I like Strangecreek in Greenfield MA

“Destination” concerts and festivals have become increasingly popular, why do you think so many people are choosing musical  getaways? 

I think people have limited vacation time and money so they want to get the most out of their vacation time and money by combining their love of travel and music. Many people may consider us a “destination festival” but I consider us a Costa Rican festival. Unlike most of the other “destination” festivals we sell tickets to the local population of Costa Rica.

 Can you tell us a little about the location?  What should someone who has never been outside of the US expect? 

Paradise!!! Jaco is a beach/surf town that reminds me of being at a festival. The main street in town is like being in the shakedown of a Grateful Dead or Phish parking lot. Everyone works all day and parties all night. Some of the bars are open till sunrise. The area is simply breathtaking. Even in the middle of town you can look around and see so much beauty in the surroundings.

Where is the campground in relation to the stage?  Do you also have access to the beach when camping? 

The campground is located 5 minutes away from the stage. The beach is 1 mile from the campground.

Are there any artists on your lineup that you are particularly excited to have this year? 

I’m excited for them all but I have never seen Nicki Bluhm & The Gramblers or The Expendables perform live so I hope I have time to catch them when they play.

Is there anything new happening in 2014 that’s different from the former years? 

We grow every year and add different things and day trips. This year on Thursday, Friday and Saturday afternoon we will have some bands perform at the beach. We are also adding “Headphone Disco” for late night and some more yoga and wellness activities.

Our lineup this year is a bit bigger than in years past.  We have just confirmed that Slightly Stoopid will be joined by special guest Don Carlos of  Black Uhuru.    We have also recently added Ojo de BueyFlorian Droids,Thicker than Thieves, and Fusion Funk San Jose to the line-up. The other bands already announced include G. Love & FriendsDumpstaphunkKarl Denson’s Tiny UniverseNicki Bluhm and the GramblersThe Expendables,dopapod, Kung Fu and Jungle Jam veterans Max CreekOteil Burbridge, bassist for the Allman Brothers Band, Zach Deputy and Ryan Montbleau Band.