Jamboree ticket sales on pace

Sean C. Morgan

With ticket sales running ahead of last year, the Oregon Jamboree announced the final members of its 2011 lineup, including the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, and is asking for local help in a new marketing campaign.

The Jamboree is gathering stories “that apply directly to the impact the Jamboree has had in Sweet Home,” said Event Director Erin Regrutto. “The campaign is called, ‘Why We Do It.’”

It will be launched on all of the Jamboree’s social media, its website and, potentially, in its newsletter.

For example, School District 55 Business Manager and Sweet Home Economic Development Group President Kevin Strong wrote a story about how the Jamboree and SHEDG helped remove old, unsafe tennis courts and build brand new ones in a new location.

SHEDG is the Oregon Jamboree’s parent organization. It produces the Jamboree, a three-day country music and camping festival, to raise funds for local economic development and charitable projects in Sweet Home.

Regrutto is looking for personal stories from organizations, individuals and anyone else who has a story about how Jamboree proceeds have helped, including those from recipients of funds from the Sweet Home Community Foundation, which was created and funded initially from Jamboree proceeds. The Foundation continues to receive money each year from the Jamboree as well as donations from other sources.

“The Jamboree is a community event that is here to benefit the community,” Regrutto said. “And we need to get those stories out there. We could communicate that message a lot better than we have.”

Heading into the final months of preparation for the 2011 Jamboree, to be held July 29-31 on the south lawn of Sweet Home High School and Sankey Park, Jamboree ticket sales are running at about 2009 levels and ahead of 2010.

Last year, at this time, the festival had sold about 54 percent of its ticket budget, Regrutto said. This year, it is at 63 percent of its budgeted ticket sales.

“We’ve had a great response to our lineup and great response to our constant interaction with our fans,” Regrutto said.

She added that expenses are up this year with the addition of a second stage and other improvements to the Jamboree experience. Total, the festival will feature 22 concerts, up from 13 last year.

The Jamboree announced the addition of Troy Olsen and the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band this week.

Olsen co-wrote Blake Shelton’s 2009 single “I’ll Just Hold On” and Tim McGraw’s “Ghost Town Train,” from the album “Southern Voice.”

He released his debut single, “Summer Thing,” in April 2010.

The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band started in 1966, with hits including a cover of Jerry Jeff Walker’s “Mr. Bojangles.” Its first single, “Buy for Me the Rain,” was a Top-40 hit. Walker also is featured in the lineup.

The Jamboree has also nearly completed its Spirit Mountain Casino Stage, a second stage that will feature artists performing between the acts on the main stage. Three slots remain open.

Among those slated to appear on the second stage are Katie Armiger, Jason Jones, Jackson Michelson, Troy Olsen, Collin Raye and the winner of the annual KRKT and Toyota Country Showdown presented by the Oregon Jamboree.

Also last week, the Jamboree hired a new sales and marketing manager, Teresa Stas, to succeed Shannon Thayer.

Stas was marketing director at 98.7 KUPL for the past seven years, Regrutto said, noting that Stas has an excellent grasp of marketing in general and advertising.

“She is going to be an amazing addition to our staff,” Regrutto said. “We couldn’t be happier.”