When I first heard about Billy Hector from Tim, a Browns Mills neighbor who lives a few blocks up on Lakeshore Drive, I didn't realize that he not only had a cult following of people who really like good music, but that they also put on their own little rock fest Camp Jam.
Camp Jam in the Pines started small, but is now almost a major industry, as their web site shows:
The first Hector groupie I met after Tim was Roger Beckweth, also a Browns Mills neighbor, who used to have a radio show on the Burlington College station (Where Michael Tierson can also be heard on Friday nights), and now puts out a weekly tip sheet for live music RoadhouseReport.com.
From Dad's, Clarke's and Dempsters in Mt. Holly, to the Hedger House (A real Roadhouse) in Chatsworth, Jake's Escape on 206 or Harper's in Clementon, there's a group of twenty or so avid music fans who follow Billy Hector around and try to catch him whenever and whereever he plays.
One night at the Hedger House, I overheard someone call "Cooch," who I inquired, "Coochanada? from Camden Catholic High School?"
Indeed it was the same "Cooch," who was a few years ahead of me, but who had a sister Ellen, who was a year behind me, and married one of my good friends from down the Shore, Pete Pospech, from Mack & Manco Pizza days.
Cooch was one of the Billy Hector crowd, along with his cousin Lisa, and her friends, all of whom go to Camp Jam.
Most of these people also like to dance, and one Sunday afternoon last summer, while Billy Hector was playing in the back barn at the Hedger House, one of the dancers was a wild red head, who I got to talking to later on.
She's the main driving force behind Camp Jam, and was enthusiastically telling me about when Billy Hector came over and asked when he's going to get to play Camp Jam again?
Well, it's not this time, as Billy's not on the list, but these people know good music and whoever is playing Camp Jam you can be sure they've been checked out, seriously vetted, and are truely terrific.
I was with Tim, the neighbor who first turned me on to Billy Hector, and he was packing up his pickup to head out to Elmer and stake out his camp site on Thursday afternoon. After all, getting the right spot at Woodstock was half the battle.
So here it is early Friday morning and I'm looking out the picture window at the rain coming down hard on the lagoon, and the ducks playing around like it's just right, and thinking of Tim setting up his camp in the rain.
Just like Woodstock! In the rain.
It won't make any difference, except a few of the less hearty souls will stay away, but those who show will have a great time.
Tim wants me to stop by his campsite and the crazy red head promised me a free pass if I wrote something positive about Camp Jam, so there you have it.
But I don't know about camping out in the rain. I was at Woodstock and it was no walk in the woods.
Hold on, I'm coming.
Roger: 2006 - photo 030
The Red head:
Billy and Reds: