’07 Jamboree makes $350,000 – a record

Sean C. Morgan

Of The New Era

Sweet Home Economic Development Group announced last week that the 2007 Oregon Jamboree recorded a record $350,000 in proceeds.

The Jamboree is a three-day country music and camping festival held the first weekend in August each year. SHEDG produces the annual concert event.

“Jamboree funds support many community projects, including the Sweet Home Community Foundation charitable grants, local business grants and downtown revitalization,” Jamboree Event Manager Peter LaPonte said. “SHEDG has spent over $250,000 funding these and similar projects since 2002.

“SHEDG has also reserved funds to ensure the future viability of the Jamboree, including the acquisition of a permanent festival site.”

In November, SHEDG signed a purchase agreement for a 66-acre site located in downtown Sweet Home, LaPonte said. The deal is in a 120-day due-diligence period and will close in mid-March if all contingencies are met. Contingencies include environmental, traffic, access, zoning and other issues.

“Sweet Home Economic Development Group would like to extend thanks and appreciation for the generous support of Jamboree volunteers, Sweet Home schools, the city of Sweet Home, local businesses, sponsors and Jamboree patrons,” LaPonte said.

The Jamboree has reached record profit levels annually for the past couple of years. LaPonte attributed this year’s record to a couple of factors.

In 2006, the Jamboree reached capacity and quit selling tickets two weeks before the event, LaPonte said. “Last year, we reworked the site a little bit. We were able to increase capacity.”

As a result, the Jamboree was able to sell a couple hundred more tickets than it did in 2006 and did not have to stop selling tickets, LaPonte said. He has no exact way to calculate the number of concertgoers, but he estimates the 2007 crowd at about 32,000 over the three days of the event.

Also, “our prices have gone up, not dramatically,” he said. “They needed to because our costs have gone up.”

Everything is getting more expensive as fuel prices rise, LaPonte said. It affects every aspect of the show, from the performers, to the stage, sound and the Jamboree’s shuttle service.

The Jamboree will be able to expand a little again this summer, LaPonte said, with the removal of the high school tennis courts.

The additional space will allow organizers to rearrange the concert entry area, officials told the District 55 School Board late last year, as well as allowing some new seating. At this point, the Jamboree has sold roughly $550,000 worth of tickets for this summer’s event, LaPonte said. That compares to about $544,000 at the end of January 2007.

“It’s looking good,” he said. “I’m happy that we’re going to have some more space.”

The 2008 Jamboree, scheduled for Aug. 1-3, has booked Alabama lead singer Randy Owen, Trace Adkins and Sugarland as headliners, and will also feature such artists as Confederate Railroad, Rissi Palmer, Kelli Pickler, Phil Stacey and Trent Tomlinson.

The Jamboree has two more slots to fill.

If the two offers the Jamboree has out now are taken, LaPonte said, it will be the best lineup ever.

Response to the artists announced two weeks ago has been great, he said. Headliners Owen and Adkins are generating a lot of excitement, and “I think Sugarland’s definitely what everybody’s talking about,”

For more information about SHEDG and the Jamboree, for a complete list of SHEDG and Community Foundation projects, including granting information, visit http://www.sweethomeoregon.com. For more information about tickets or volunteering for the Oregon Jamboree, call 367-8800.