Celebrating Local with the Jumbo Circus Peanuts

One of the Seacoast’s most heralded bands, the Jumbo Circus Peanuts will perform as part of our triple bill at Concert in the Lot on June 16. What makes the band unique? Deputy Programming Director Thérèse LaGamma recently caught up with JCP’s John Prendergast to get the low down.

How did you come up with the name Jumbo Circus Peanuts?

We were helping somebody move and we had some boxes from the Pic ‘n Pay (some people call it Hannaford). One of the boxes was labeled Jumbo Circus Peanuts.

Tell us a bit about the band’s origins.

We are Portsmouth’s original DIY brass band, formed just in time for the first Portsmouth Halloween Parade, which ended in the Worth Lot, by the way. We went on to become known in the early days of performing at the Press Room, Wanamaker, and Elvis Room as the band “so bad they’re good.” We got better.

What makes up your repertoire? Who are some of the band’s influences?

Our earliest influences are the Dirty Dozen Brass Band and the Sun Ra Arkestra. Our songbook used to be all over the place, but in recent years it’s focused on funk, soul, and horn-driven rock and roll.

What is the inspiration behind those fun costumes worn by band members?

Every day is Mardi Gras!

What’s your favorite watering hole after a show? Favorite place to grab a beer or a bite?

No favorites, but put out a free spread and watch us transform into the Jumbo Circus Locusts, devouring everything in our path.

What can folks look forward to on Sunday, June 16 when JCP take to the stage?

Hang on and try to have as much fun as we’re having.