Work Through It: SamJam Returns To Carlinville


CARLINVILLE – After a year-long hiatus, a popular music festival in central Illinois returns with a new format and many additional features.

SamJam’s late summer party is scheduled for Saturday, August 28 from noon to 11 p.m. at the Macoupin County Fairgrounds, just north of Carlinville. The event will feature five acclaimed tribute groups playing the best hits from a range of genres.

“We wanted to try something different,” said Pete Oswald Sr., who ran SamJam Events. “We have always focused on progressive bluegrass, and it has always been popular with our crowds. But we thought that new music would also be a good change for everyone.

Last year’s SamJam was canceled due to the pandemic.

Established in 2014, the event pays tribute to Oswald’s son, Sam, who has undergone a multitude of neurofibromatosis (NF) -related treatments since the age of four. Now 36, Sam has battled spinal fusion, two brain tumors, shunt revisions, a bone graft on both legs, knee surgery, skin tumor removal and eye surgery.


Most recently, Sam underwent surgery in July 2020 to remove a tumor in his chest, near his esophagus. This was followed by another operation in March 2021 to remove a tumor from her thigh, which was a recurrence with cancer from eight years ago.

“I’ve dealt with NF for most of my life, and it hasn’t always been easy,” said Sam Oswald. “But you just have to work on it. I had a lot of support from my family and friends, and it helped me get through whatever NF threw at me.

Neurofibromatosis, which affects 1 in 2,500 people worldwide, is often diagnosed in childhood or early adulthood, and also occurs across genders, races, and ethnicities. Although less known to the general public, more patients suffer from NF than from muscular dystrophy, Tay-Sachs disease and Huntington’s disease combined.

Patients with NF regularly suffer from tumors on nerves throughout the body, and several separate and distinct versions of the disease are currently being classified.

Among the many far-reaching effects of NF are scoliosis, which was an early problem in Sam’s case, as well as seizures, motor delays, vision or hearing loss, disfigurement, bone deformities, speech disturbances, loss of balance and permanent physical disturbances. pain.

During its first six years, SamJam donated $ 67,000 to NF, with the funds going to NF Midwest, Inc., an organization that provides research grants and support services in Illinois and five Surrounding states.

“Over the years we have met many other families who are going through similar journeys with a diagnosis of NF,” said Oswald Sr. “Now, with Sam’s help, we are trying to raise more awareness of this devastating disease. “

SamJam is recognized for its top quality music. This year is no different with regional favorites like the Voodoo Players, a group hosted by St. Louis musician Sean Canan, which features music from Jimmy Buffet as well as the Rolling Stones.

There’s also the Mark Lavengood Band, a Michigan-based band that play the music of two-time Grammy winner John Prine, who died of COVID-19 at age 73 in April 2020. Prine’s self-titled debut album from 1971 was listed on Rolling Stone’s list of the 500 best albums of all time.

Also on the program, Shakey Deal of St. Louis, which highlights Neil Young’s long and successful career, and Sunshine Daydream, a Springfield band that plays songs from the Grateful Dead.

SamJam will take place outdoors on the carnival halfway to the fairgrounds, with a professional stage. Food trucks, a raffle and an enlarged beer and wine tent will be in the spotlight. Camping is also available at the exhibition center.

Unlike previous SamJam events at the Exhibition Center, which took place indoors, spectators are kindly requested to bring lawn chairs, blankets and umbrellas.

SamJam tickets are available online at www.samjam4nf.com. Ticket prices are $ 20 for adults and $ 10 for students, with free admission for those 16 and under. For more information, visit the website or call 217-556-4917.

Sam Oswald, the man behind the event, is certainly looking forward to it. “I love that we’re doing this,” he said with a smile. “We are fundraising and raising awareness about NF, and it really helps a lot of people. Hope everyone comes out and listens to great music for our cause.

Tom Emery is a freelance writer and historical researcher from Carlinville. He can be reached at 217-710-8392 or [email protected]


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