On Sunday, December 8, the fourth annual Big Ticket will return to Jacksonville. Taking place alongside the festival at the Metropolitan Park located along the St. Johns River is an event called Crazy Dave’s Music Experience. This event will be available inside the Big Ticket, and is an amazing chance to test out some of the gear you will undoubtedly see some of the bands using onstage during the festival. Void recently got the chance to talk to Mark “Squiggy” Digiacomo from Crazy Dave’s Music about what exactly this event is, and what visitors can expect.

What exactly is Crazy Dave’s Music Experience?

The Crazy Dave’s Music Experience is an interactive rockstar exhibit.  We’ve partnered with some of the biggest and best musical instrument manufacturers in the world to bring both amazing gear and experts from each company to the concerts.  Visitors to the Experience can pick-up and play anything they want, meet representatives from the company that makes the gear, and ask any questions they please.  They can even buy things if they fall in love, and Crazy Dave’s will ship or hold anything until the end of the show.  We also have meet-and-greets with bands endorsed by the brands within the Experience!  At Welcome to Rockville, we had signings by Stone Sour, Buckcherry, All That Remains, In This Moment, Papa Roach and Asking Alexandria.  With school budgets constantly cutting music programs, it’s up to guys like us to make music accessible to anyone who wants it, and the Experience does that and more.  It’s a one-of-a-kind exhibit, and we’re proud to have birthed it.
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Where can people find it at the Big Ticket?

We are usually near the entrance to the festival, en route to the stages. The Experience tent always has multi-colored LEDs and lasers shining around inside, and you can typically hear people playing guitars and amps from nearby, so we’re easy to find.

Does it cost anything?

Nope, it’s completely free! Crazy Dave’s Music has covered all the fees. You’re more than welcome to buy an instrument or T-shirt if you want though!

What should participants expect from the Experience?

In addition to the obvious—lots of music gear and representatives from the companies that make it—participants should expect always to find something happening!  We do all sorts of crazy (and often impromptu) contests.  Some of our most popular include best-jailhouse-tattoo, biggest-scar, head-banging and male twerking contests, and our signature 30 Seconds to Shred, which is a guitar playing contest with a grand prize of a brand new guitar!   We also do artist signings at the Experience as we mentioned in a previous question.
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What kinds of instruments will people be able to test out, and how many will you guys be bringing with you?

We will have lots of guitars from Fender, Squier, ESP, LTD, Ovation and Takamine. We will also have synth products from Korg and Moog. We’ll have amps from Vox and Blackstar, as well as microphones from CAD. We will have a full Video DJ section provided by Hercules DJ. Everything will be available to play.

How has this event done at other events and cities?

The first festival we did was Welcome to Rockville. It was a tremendous success, so we decided to do the Aftershock festival in Sacramento, CA and Epicenter in Irvine, CA. It has become the most talked-about tent at the festivals. From parents hugging us and thanking us for letting their child play a guitar, to seeing a woman cry after watching her son and his father play guitar together, we have been very moved. Music inspires people in ways we can’t imagine. Seeing kids meet their idols is also amazing to me. The looks in their eyes are breathtaking!

Can you tell me a little about what you guys did with the Orange Park High School Guitar Club?

Orange Park High School wanted to start a guitar program. We found out about it and we matched their initial grant funding. Then we partnered with ESP guitars and stretched the budget even further to get all new acoustic guitars with cases for their guitar department. We were honored to be a part of it.
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