FARGO - In the music scene, a jam is known as a space and time where musicians play freestyle music; they're often secretive and exclusive gatherings. However, 37-year-old musician and performer Julian Ruck believes jams are rather an inclusive, transformative and powerful experience.
But he didn't always hold this passion for inviting all into a community's music scene.
"I was in Chico, Calif. trying to 'make it' with like 40 or 50 other music acts in town. We all were having a hard time making a living playing music," the Michigan native says. "Then my band decided to break up."
Ruck needed to do something to change his situation so he decided to attempt a concert that would beat the Guinness World Record for longest show.
"I just thought, 'let's put on one big show to really celebrate the community and its local musicians,' " he recalls about his first attempt at the longest concert in 2015.
The "I play in Chico" concert was held for 34 days straight, smashing the old record of 15 days. His "rockumentary" by the same name details this unique moment of one small community coming together in pursuit of a large goal.
Unfortunately, Guinness World Records did not verify this first attempt. In 2016, Ruck orchestrated another event called "Chico strikes back" which lasted 16 days. Record Setter verified and awarded the "Longest Concert by Multiple Artists" record to Ruck and Chico area musicians.
"Something really cool just happens when more than one hundred people come together motivated by their shared love of music," he says.
For more than a year Ruck has been traveling to small communities and cities all over the continental United States learning about different and emerging music scenes. He came to Fargo not because of the movie or the FX series, but because of its passionate people.
"I didn't know anyone who lived here personally but everything that I read online made me think that there is a pretty happening music scene here," Ruck says. "I also saw some TED talks where people are pretty excited about Fargo."
Before traveling to Fargo, friends and family asked, "Why Fargo?"
"People would suggest Austin, Nashville or New York," he says. "I have been to those places, and it's already happening. You're just a drop in the ocean there. I really enjoy traveling to out-of-the-way places that are going to be the new 'Austin'."
His interest was validated once he arrived July 1. Since then, he has connected with local acts through open mic nights and at other community events.
Struck by the community and its people, Ruck decided to put on another "World's Longest Concert" event on July 28. Fresh off an attempt breaking the world's longest ukulele concert in Michigan, Ruck approached various businesses to find a venue for the show which proved to be difficult as 24-hour establishments can be hard to find.
"I thought it was a really unique event and thought that our space would be a perfect venue for it," says Cydney Berlinger, an employee at Red Raven Espresso Parlor. "We're really focused on being a space for music and the arts and we thought this would be a great opportunity for local musicians as well."
The event starts on 10 a.m. on Friday and lasts until 4 p.m. on Saturday, July 29. Unlike other events, this one will feature original songs only.
"We will most likely travel the gamut of genres. We even plan to have a specific period of time where we play songs for kids so people can bring their families to the event," Ruck says.
Both area musicians and music enthusiasts are ecstatic about this one-of-kind opportunity to connect and celebrate our local talent.
"I think this creates an opportunity for local musicians to play together and make music together in a different way," Berlinger says.
If You Go
What: World's Longest Ukulele Performance
When: Friday, July 28 10 a.m. to Saturday, July 29 at 4 p.m.
Where: Red Raven Espresso Parlor, 916 Main Avenue
Info: Event is free. Find out more information on Julian Ruck's Facebook, facebook.com/pg/ruckatash.