A jam band is a band of any genre that performs live and improvises a lot of their music live in front of an audience. Bands like The Grateful Dead are notorious jam bands that play live music for hours on end. Some extremely improvised songs can last an upwards of 30 minutes. Jam band concerts typically have a loyal fan base towards that particular band, sometimes even following them from show to show. An example would be Phish and The Grateful Dead, which followers were typically known as “dead heads”. Certain people went to every show traveling with their best friends, never missing a Dead show across the whole country. They would arrive in swarms to the concert venue days before the show even started and stay days after it ended. It was basically a giant party leading up to the concert and then a party waiting up until the next event in a new state. In their prime, the Grateful Dead weren’t referred to as a jam band. In fact the term wasn’t invented until the early 90s when more and more bands are starting to switch towards electronic type beats instead of your typical rock jam band. During this time it was used to describe bans that had a similar playing style to that of Phish and Grateful Dead.
Jam bands can play anywhere from a hole in the wall bar to a large music festival consisting of thousands of people. Often giving newer bands a chance to obtain a fanbase by giving them exposure to thousands of people, Summer Camp, Langerado, Bonnaroo, Camp Bisco, and many more have been doing a successful job for years. Music festivals are multi day festivals involving music, art, and sometimes comedy for days on end. At some festivals the music is almost non stop for 3 days. Even though the term jam bands was only recently coined, they’ve been uniting people of all cultures for generations. Given the invention of the internet, many artists are releasing their music for around a dollar a song nearly right after the concert is over. Most major festivals will have a USB thumb drive or a even a CD of the entire concert shortly after it’s over. However, this isn’t just limited to festivals. More and more venues are also starting to offer the artist’s live recordings, within an hour of the concert’s end.