Salmon Jam shows off local talent via Twitch

Rap artist Brian Wildrick will debut new material in livestreamed event

Harborside Pizza owner Brian Wildrick will perform at this year’s Salmon Jam as “BWild907.” (July 8, 2020) Photo by Zachary Snowdon Smith/The Cordova Times

Like many other events, Salmon Jam has turned to online streaming to bring community members an immersive, but socially distanced, experience. This year’s Salmon Jam festival will rely not only on YouTube, but on Twitch, a streaming platform popular among video game players that places greater emphasis on audience interaction.

“It’s a way to have more interactivity, because we’re not going to be jumping and bouncing on the dancefloor together,” said Copper River Watershed Project Program Director Kate Morse.

Anchorage-based rock four-piece Lateral Lines will headline July 18 musical performances for the “Jammin’ SalmONLINE” event along with rapper 30. Salmon Jam’s Twitch stream will be accessible at twitch.tv/jamminsalmonstream.

Brian Wildrick, owner of Harborside pizza, made his debut as a rap artist in 2019. Under the stage name “BWild907,” Wildrick has rapped about the challenges and rewards of small business ownership. After music video filming for Wildrick’s single “Dish Magician” was curtailed by the coronavirus pandemic, Wildrick was pleased to find himself on the bill for Salmon Jam.

“I appreciate the organic growth, and it is a little bit exciting to see how many people we can reach virtually,” Wildrick said. “Our story is pertinent to any entrepreneur, service industry professional and musician who might want a different perspective. We try to put a fun spin on the hard work and give other people happiness through food and music.”

Despite a roughly 50 percent drop in sales, Harborside Pizza is bearing up well against the coronavirus recession, Wildrick said. The restaurant currently restricts itself to take-out service.

Wildrick was a natural choice for the Salmon Jam bill not just as a local talent, but as an artist who has demonstrated the therapeutic value of creative work, Morse said.

“Art can be healing,” Morse said. “Music is a form of therapy, and that is what we all need right now, in this crazy world where answers aren’t as clear as they might have been before the pandemic. To be able to highlight somebody who has found music as an outlet for expressing himself — I think that’s good inspiration.”

Other COVID-conscious Salmon Jam events will include dumpster painting near Hollis Henrich’s Park, near Cordova Jr./Sr. High School, near the U.S. Forest Service building parking lot and near the offices of the Native Village of Eyak. A “Cordova RockFish” installation will have residents leaving painted, fish-themed rocks around the anchor and sign at Hollis Henrich’s Park.

An online scavenger hunt will also be conducted with hints published via Instagram, Facebook and other online platforms. Scavenger hunt items can be “turned in” by posting a photo to Instagram with the tag “@salmonjam” or the hashtag “#crwpscavengerhunt2020,” or by emailing shae@copperriver.org. The winner of the scavenger hunt will receive a large toy moose.

A painting class will also be held 2 p.m. July 17 on the deck of the Reluctant Fisherman. Admission, which includes supplies, will cost $45 per person. The traditional annual Salmon Runs will be carried out using online registration to facilitate social distancing. Harborside Pizza, Baja Taco and other local restaurants will offer special deals for Salmon Jam, Morse said.

Registration for Salmon Jam, which is free and includes entry into a prize drawing, can be carried out online at bit.ly/3gJFwHp.

“We want to spread the Salmon Jam love, not COVID,” Morse said. “A lot of people have had to cancel things and stop doing what they usually do … It’s important to the community to encourage creative expression, to celebrate art and culture, and to tap into these kinds of creative opportunities. Dancing is such a great release for stress and for lifting people’s spirits, as are painting and art.”