How Steve Vai's Big Mama Jama Jamathon Raised the Roof — and a Lot of Money — for a Good Cause

(Image credit: Puneet Singh)

This past September 28 to 30, guitar legend Steve Vai got to fulfill a longtime vision with his Big Mama Jama Jamathon, a music/art show that took over Musicians Institute’s LiveHouse venue in Los Angeles. The event, which featured 52 hours’ worth of continuous performances by marquee players such as Dave Navarro, Tosin Abasi, Dweezil Zappa, Nina Strauss, John 5 and Vai himself, benefited a worthy cause.

“I had this concept for quite a while, probably 25 years,” Vai said. “The idea was to create an event where the music doesn’t stop and invite a plethora of different kinds of artists to come up on the stage. I was just waiting for the right time to pull this off.” After Vai joined the board of Extraordinary Families, a Los Angeles-based nonprofit foster-family, adoption and advocacy agency, it became clear the time had arrived. “I got involved with them and thought this was the perfect opportunity to put on a fundraiser,” he said.

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