Most locals, long termers, expats at lovers of live music will already know Robert Van Dam, however mostly through the guise of 'Robert from The Jam'.
Born in Holland, in a city called Haarlem. Growing up Robert always loved rock and grunge music.
“My favorite bands were Guns n Roses, Soundgarden, Nirvana and Alice in chains”.
When he was around 18, a friend of his who was a guitarist wanted Robert to sing with his band, and he has been rocking ever since that first awesome experience!
Hi Robert, so when did the Jam start and how?
When I arrived in Phangan for a ‘couple of weeks’ in 1994 I managed the music in a couple of places in Haad Rin and that was an awesome thing to do.
So in 1998 I decided to buy musical instruments to make a band ha-ha. That was pretty impossible as everybody was always on the go, so in 2000 I made small live gigs at Jaya's which was at that time a club in Haad Rin.
In 2007 I thought it would be cool to play together with my friends who were also musicians. We started something like a hobby band, playing every week in the garden at my house in Hin Kong. But we were alone not for too long. Soon other musicians on the island found us and wanted to join, then people (friends and neighbours) started coming to listen to our jamming. We made places to sit, a small bar with drinks and a roof to protect us from the rain. Then after a while we created a STAGE - thus The Jam was born!
The Jam became the first original Open Mic Jam place on Koh Phangan and the main hangout for musicians. There is a main core of the musicians who live on the island.
We get many amazing traveling musicians from all over the world too. Sometimes I can't believe how lucky we are to have such incredibly talented people on stage!
Now we have a new location at Hin Kong (just 100m from our first place) with a big stage, beautiful garden and a large parking area.
What is the concept of the Jam?
The main concept of The Jam is an OPEN STAGE - so anyone can get up and ... shine! Everyone is welcome to share their artistic talents with the audience. At the Jam we welcome all styles of music. I myself mostly play rock and grunge but we also have musicians who play funk, jazz, blues, reggae, folk, pop, R n B, you name it!
And often when different musicians are jamming together new musical styles and melodies are born! Those moments are Truly Magical!
At the Jam we welcome not only musicians and singers but all kinds of performers. The Stage is open for Dancers, Fire or LED shows, Magic tricks, Acrobatics, Stand-up Comedy, Poetry and all cool Arts.
Art exhibitions are another thing that we organise. All artists are welcome to present their artworks at The Jam space.
What do you have there?
We have a big beautiful STAGE fully equipped for professional performances. To the musicians we offer many instruments which are free to use: Drum kit, Electric piano, guitars and percussion. We also have a crisp sounding sound system! For fire show performers we provide free kerosene.
Our guests who come to relax and watch the performances are welcome to enjoy the bar full of beers, cocktails, spirits, fruit shakes, top shelf alcohol, soft drinks and some specialties. Also we have a delicious BBQ and other snacks.
What is different about the Jam on Koh Phangan?
The most special thing about the Jam is that every event is different and unique! There are regular jammers and there are songs which are played often but nobody can ever predict how the entire evening is gonna go... Every time it is a surprise.
We don't have rules about how many songs people can play and I always try to make this process flow as organically as possible.
And what is unique?
As you know now The Jam didn't start as a business. From the very beginning it was a place where true music lovers could get together and play. The Jam was naturally growing, it took a very important function on the island - it became an informal cultural center for the musicians and artists from all over the world.
In fact The Jam represents the live music scene of Koh Phangan, it is a melting pot where people from different countries communicate with each other in an international and the most beautiful language - the language of Music.
Every Jam we have new guest performers from different countries. Many musicians keep returning to Koh Phangan for many years only because such a place as The Jam exists and gives the opportunity to play and hangout with other musicians. Such people we call ‘Jamily’. Jamily is like a real island family. We have many fun activities and just all are good friends.
Koh Phangan is mostly famous for its parties and especially the Full Moon party which mainly attracts youngsters between 20 and 30 years old who like electronic music.
But also there are many people coming to the island who are a bit older or simply prefer different kinds of music and they also want to go out in the evening. Jam is the place!
All our guests say that the Jam has a very special friendly atmosphere. The stage is surrounded by a nicely decorated jungle garden and facing Hin Kong bay. We have different seating areas - depending on your preferences.
If you're in a party mood you can completely give yourself to dance on the dance floor. Or can just enjoy watching the performance from your chair. The Jam isn't exactly a party and the music isn't super loud which makes it a perfect place to meet people and socialise. No matter if you come alone or with a big group of friends - you'll have an amazing time!