Cities are living things. They feed and grow off the energy of the people who comprise them. With time, they adopt the beat of a unique culture. Jax by Jax, a new local literary festival, is part of a growing trend in Jacksonville that aims to synchronize the city’s many separate parts into something a little more cohesive–a vision for community.
Jax by Jax will take place on Saturday, Nov. 8 from 3 – 6 p.m. in the Park and King street area of Riverside. Here, nine local businesses will serve as venues for well over a dozen local writers who will perform readings of their work. In between readings, festival-goers will have the chance to mingle, grab a drink, walk the historic Riverside streets or purchase merchandise–including new local literary magazines–from the lobby of the Whiteway building.
“We wanted to pick a place that feels like it has a distinct personality,” said Tim Gilmore, Jax by Jax originator, author and FSCJ professor. Gilmore, who has been active in Jacksonville’s literary scene for years, says that he intends for the event to serve as a way to “Use the city to show the city that the city is writing.” This fits in well with the festival’s tagline: “Jacksonville Writers Writing Jacksonville.”
Events like Jax by Jax have a unifying effect on the city, increasing our sense of community and place–something many Jacksonville residents feel is lacking. “A city with such stark divisions can come together. There’s room for lots of different Jacksonvilles,” said Gilmore. With many of the writers at Jax by Jax using their work to address important local issues, the festival could also serve as bedrock for future change in the city–shedding light on the continuing difficulties we face and offering alternatives.
Jacksonville is ready for Jax by Jax. “The audience for this event is already here,” said Gilmore. “Anybody who wants to celebrate culture in this city should come.”
For more information on the event, visit jaxbyjax.com
For an in-depth look at the difficulties of hosting a festival like Jax by Jax, check out jaxpsychogeo.com