2010 Jamboree finishes nearly $100,000 in red

Sean C. Morgan

The Oregon Jamboree lost $98,000 in the 2010 event, but event officials say they are looking for a rebound in 2011.

The 2010 loss can be attributed to two primary factors according to Kevin Strong, president of the nonprofit Sweet Home Economic Development Group, which has produced the three-day summer country music and camping festival for 16 years.

“First, we spent over $50,000 in 2010 expanding the festival site across the Weddle Covered Bridge into Sankey Park,” Strong said. “Doing so provides fans with more space in a nice shaded area with additional food vendors and a play zone for kids. We see this as a great investment for the future and we plan to further expand this area in 2011 to make it even nicer for our guests.

“Second, ticket sales were down in 2010 as compared to 2009 in part due to the economy and in part due to extensive advertising from a for-profit regional retail store chain that is promoting its own three-day country music and camping festival.”

The Jamboree will use earnings set aside in past years to cover this year’s shortfall, Strong said.

“We have built reserves during good years to help us weather down years like the one we just had,” Strong said. “Having reserves allows us to focus our attention on organizing the best Jamboree ever for 2011.”

Strong said the nonprofit Sweet Home Economic Development Group also plans to use reserve funds to continue economic development efforts in the community and to contribute to the Sweet Home Community Foundation which provides grants for worthwhile charitable organizations.

“Good things are happening in Sweet Home and we want to keep the momentum going,” Strong said. “Obviously, we are not going to be able to invest as much in the community as if we were coming off a blockbuster year, but I believe community members understand that.

“With the site improvements we are making and with the talent lineup we are going to have, we believe fans will not want to miss next summer’s Jamboree,” Strong said.

Specifically, the Jamboree is planning to add a second stage in Sankey Park across the Weddle Covered Bridge from the main stage.

“The second stage allows fans the opportunity to cross the covered bridge and watch performers in a more intimate setting between acts on the main stage,” said Strong. “We are also planning to add a fourth video screen, based on popular demand from our fans.”

Strong said the Jamboree is receiving positive feedback on its talent lineup, which includes Lady Antebellum, Ronnie Dunn from Brooks and Dunn, and Darius Rucker who has crossed over to country music after being the front man for the 1990s light rock group Hootie & the Blowfish.

“Fans are excited about Ronnie Dunn and Darius Rucker, and everyone I’ve talked to wants to see Lady Antebellum,” said Strong. “Every time you hear one of their hits on the radio like ‘Need You Now’ and ‘I Run to You,’ you can’t help but picture yourself hearing them live under the stars on the main Jamboree stage on July 30. Fans are buying tickets to give as Christmas gifts.”

The nonprofit Sweet Home Economic Development Group formed the Oregon Jamboree in 1992. More than 700 townspeople volunteer annually for the event.

The festival is by far the largest fund-raising event for the community’s schools and service clubs, Strong said. In addition, the organization has been able to give back proceeds approaching $1 million to the community, benefiting children through senior citizens. The Jamboree also helps fund economic development efforts in the community.

This year’s Jamboree is scheduled for July 29 through July 31. Tickets are available at http://www.oregonjamboree.com or by calling the Jamboree box office at (888) 613-6812 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.