Lots of positives from this Jamboree

The Oregon Jamboree has


ished celebrating its 20th year with

huge crowds, top country music per-

formers, a great emcee and some siz-

zling temperatures.

For the most part, it was a very

excellent weekend for Sweet Home.

Jamboree officials say the

crowds were record size and it cer-

tainly appeared that way as the

beach chairs stretched the length and

breadth of the Sweet Home High

School athletic fields.

The campers rolled in in a

steady line starting in mid-week. We

don’t have hard figures yet, but anec-

dotally, at least, from our position in

The New Era office at 1313 Main St.,

it really seems the patrons are arriv-

ing earlier and staying later – which

is really good for Sweet Home busi-


These people buy gas and gro-

ceries, they rent sites in local camp-

grounds, they book the local motels,

and generally just spend money. A

lot of that money is spent in locally

owned businesses and it stays here

– and we are not talking about what-

ever pro

its the Jamboree might wind

up with.

A lot of that is due to innovative

twists instituted by Jamboree orga-

nizers. The Safeway pre-Jamboree

party and Neal McCoy’s reception

on Thursday were good reasons to

get here early. Local performers got

a chance to show their stuff at the

Safeway bash, which drew a crowd

that packed the parking lot.

Each year, it seems, more fans

are walking the streets in the morn-

ings, which is exactly what Sweet

Home’s downtown needs. We hope

local businesses were enterprising

and took advantage of that.

The increased traffic may be due

to the improving appearance of the

downtown – thanks in part to profits

from previous Jamborees – and the

increased clustering of shops that at-

tract walk-in shoppers, are part of the

reason for that apparent rise in shop-

ping activity.

The festival is an emotional

event for many of the fans, who

clearly relish watching their musical

heroes perform live. Behind the hi-

larity is a lot of sweat and hard work

accomplished by the hundreds of vol-

unteers who make it all happen. It’s

a well-oiled machine after 20 years

and Sweet Home should appreciate

the fact that it runs as well as it does,

considering that there is very little

paid staff involved.

Sure, there were problems this

year. When you have crowds num-

bering in the tens of thousands, there

are going to be some bad apples in

the bunch and we did hear of fights

and people who simply had had too

much to drink.

For some, unfortunately, that’s

what it’s all about and, from an or-

ganizational standpoint, it’s difficult

to control what people do and still let

them have fun. Hitting that balance

is very tricky, particularly in today’s

post-modern society in which people

increasingly think the world revolves

around them and are here to maxi-

mize their experience in every way


Mix in some spirits and it can be

a difficult situation, but the Jamboree

staff needs to continue to do every-

thing possible to make sure it doesn’t

reach excessive levels.

The heat was definitely an issue

this year, particularly since, locally,

we had not gotten close to the cen-

tury mark on the thermometer. With

temperatures reported at 104 on Sat-

urday, the medics stayed busy and we

appreciate their efforts, responding

quickly as medical situations arose.

Now we have to wait to see what

kind of numbers Jamboree officials

produce and how they add up. Re-

cord-sized crowds are a big plus, but

the cost of talent, Jamboree officials

have said for a number of years, has

also shot up and talent is what brings

in ticket-buyers. The presence of a

similar festival a dozen miles down

the road and two weeks separated

from the Jamboree gives country

music acts more options – and makes

the market more competitive, we’re

told by those in the business.

The Jamboree has survived for

20 years after local country music

lovers decided a camping festival

would be a good way to bring some

needed cash into the community.

The festival has been a success

because local people have participat-

ed in and supported it.

It has produced many good

things for the community: tens

of thousands of dollars for local

schools; grants for charitable orga-

nizations; income for organizations

such as the Rotary and Kiwanis

clubs, local Parent-Teacher organiza-

tions, Volunteer Firefighters Associa-

tion, the Sweet Home Beautification

Committee, Sunshine Industries and

the Elks; money-making opportuni-

ties for residents who rent out their

extra space for parking or RV sites;

income for local businesses from

the extra 10,000 people in town; and

lots of great country music for local


Yes, there are drunks, there is

noise, there is traffic, there are lines

in the store. Yes, it’s inconvenient.

But by all appearances it went

pretty well this year and for that we

should be grateful.