Bringing musicians together, Cottonwood Falls
317 Broadway, Cottonwood Falls, KS 66845
[map this location]
One of the 8 Wonders of Kansas Customs
The custom: Bringing musicians together
Where can you see this happen regularly? The lively jam session happens every Friday night at 7:30 p.m. on Main Street in Cottonwood Falls. NOTE: The Emma Chase Cafe has closed and a new restaurant, Keller Feed and Wine Company, is the new hotspot.
Although the cafe has closed, the musicians have kept the original name, the "Emma Chase Friday Night Music."
Whichever Friday of the month it is determines the category: general acoustic, bluegrass, gospel, old time country n rock, and on the occasional fifth Friday, contra dance and folk.
To the best of anyone's knowledge, "Music at the Emma" was Kansas' first public weekly jam session and is surely the longest-continuous jam session.
The jam sessions are free to the public although "the jar" is occasionally passed around to raise funds for a special need, for additional sound equipment, or to help support an upcoming performance.
An evening count of musicians might be anywhere from four to thirty. First-time visitors are amazed at this unique phenomenon of regular people, with varying levels of musicianship, take turns leading songs while all the other musicians play along. Mostly vocal, sometimes instrumental, these songs represent a broad variety of genres.
Several regular musicians have become song-writers and frequently perform their Flint Hills tunes at the jam sessions. Some of the musicians now write music and perform their tunes in other venues.
THE ACCOMPLISHED LISTENERS
It is not unusual for the audience to include a bus-load of guests from a senior center or a church somewhere, campers, automobile enthusiasts, or those attending a local meeting or family reunion.