Keith Urban signed on for 2010 Jamboree

Keith Urban will headline the opening day of the 2010 Oregon Jamboree, festival organizers announced Tusday.

Urban will appear Friday night, July 30, in the 18th annual Jamboree, which will feature 13 concerts over three days.

“It’s great,” said Festival Director Peter LaPonte. “It’s not only a great booking but to get him this early in the season is great for us. He’s one of the earliest headliners we’ve been able to sign.

The other early headliner the festival has been able to sign was Gretchen Wilson, who performed in 2006 but was announced at the 2005 festival.

A native of Whangarie, New Zealand who was raised in Caboolture, Queensland, Australia, Urban has become a global superstar in the world of country music since moving to Nashville, Tenn. in 1992.

The Jamboree, founded in 1992, is the Northwest’s largest country music and camping festival. In addition to featured headline entertainment, the family-style event hosts RV and tent camping, food booths, beer and wine gardens, children’s performers and more. The festival is produced by the non-profit Sweet Home Economic Development Group (SHEDG). All proceeds are used to benefit economic development and charitable projects in Sweet Home.

Urban has performed once before in Sweet Home, at the 2002 Jamboree.

His hit recordings include “The Ranch” (1997), and platinum-selling solo albums, “Keith Urban” (1999), “Golden Road” (2002),

“Be Here” (2004), “Love, Pain & the Whole Crazy Thing” (2006) and the compilation “Greatest Hits: 19 Kids” (2008). His latest album, “Defying Gravity,” was released in March.

Urban has won Grammy Awards, Country Music Association Awards, Academy of County Music Awards and Australia’s Aria Award.

“I think he has extremely broad appeal,” LaPonte said. “He’s got great songs, he writes the songs. He’s a great guitarist, a great singer. He’s the package. He has really incredible, sensual charisma that appeals to people. Because he’s such a fine musician, he puts together amazing bands. When he plays it’s such an incredible show.”

Tickets are being sold for next year’s show and LaPonte said VIP tickets are already becoming scarce.

“We’re taking a waiting list,” he said.

General admission tickets are available or $125 for three days for adults; children 7 to 12 are $30 for three days or $15 for a single day; children 6 and under are free when accompanied by an adult with a general-admission ticket.

Weekend camping for RVs or tents is $70.

LaPonte said he thinks Urban will be a hit, though his popularity has taken “a little dip” over the recent past.

“He’s such and incredible talent, he’s so young, you’re not going to keep this guy down,” he said. “He’s got a family now, he’s got a kid.

“We’re hoping that there will be a strong buy for Keith Urban,” LaPonte said. “It’s hard to know what’s going to happen because it’s a year out.”

For tickets and Jamboree information, call 367-8800 or toll free (888) 613-6812 Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.