Oregon Jamboree announces headliners

Sean C. Morgan

Headliners for the 2011 Oregon Jamboree are Ronnie Dunn formerly of Brooks and Dunn, Lady Antebellum and Darius Rucker formerly of Hootie and the Blowfish.

They will be joined by Collin Raye.

The Oregon Jamboree released the first four artists in its 2011 lineup on Tuesday.

The Oregon Jamboree also announced the addition of a second stage where main stage artists will perform smaller, more intimate shows during the breaks between the main stage shows. With the addition of the second stage, the Jamboree will include 20 concerts over three days, July 29-31.

Dunn will perform Friday night of the Jamboree. Lady Antebellum will perform on Saturday and Rucker will perform on Sunday.

Raye will perform Saturday on both stages.

Lady Antebellum is pure country and completely accepted within the country scene, said Event Manager Erin Regrutto, but the group holds broad appeal, with successes on other charts, such as the adult contemporary chart.

“They’re huge,” she said. “They won several CMAs (Country Music Association awards), and last night at the American Music Awards, they also took several awards.”

Rucker is the same way coming out of a pop rock background, Regrutto said. He holds the same kind of country credentials as Lady Antebellum but also reaches across genre lines and puts on a great show.

“Ronnie Dunn’s a country music icon,” Regrutto said, and he’ll very much be playing Brooks and Dunn hits. “He’s a huge act. He is one of the most famous country singers of all time.”

Raye has a ton of hits, Regrutto said. “He’s a great artist. He’ll be on the main stage with all his country hits, then he’ll hit the second stage for a rock-country set.”

The main grounds at the Jamboree will remain unchanged this year, Regrutto said, but the festival is adjusting the Sankey Park area it added last year. The biggest change there is the second stage, where several main stage acts will play an additional show.

“It’ll be a real opportunity for fans to get up close and personal with their favorite artists,” Regrutto said. “It’ll be a much smaller, intimate show. It’s going to add a lot of excitement to Sankey Park.”

The Jamboree also is adding a fourth large monitor, which will be located in Sankey Park.

The Sankey Park addition last year included a shaded area, a children’s play area, vendors and a smoking area.

“You could pretty much hang out there all day watching the main stage acts and the second stage in between,” Regrutto said.

Advance ticket sales are running about 10 percent better than last year, Regrutto said, and starting in the new year, the Oregon Jamboree is going to kick off a revamped marketing campaign. New promotions include a group rate. For groups of 10, ticket prices are 10 percent off, which is the equivalent of a free ticket, Regrutto said. For groups of 20, tickets are 15 percent off, the equivalent of three free tickets.

The rate is only available at the Jamboree Office, 1314 Long St.

The Jamboree is promoting itself heavily on Facebook, Regrutto said. When users click on the “like” link, they become eligible for the promotions.

Another program will offer special packages to nonprofits and other groups.

A new website will go live at the end of December, Regrutto said, and it’s designed to feel the same way the concert feels.

“We have an exceptional staff who have put a lot of energy into the 2011 event,” Regrutto said. They’ve developed a new game plan to keep old fans happy while expanding into new markets beginning in January.

She urges folks to keep an eye out, especially on facebook.com.

“You feel very in touch with people attending your event, and the people attending your event feel very in touch with you,” Regrutto said of Facebook.

Since their initial pairing in 1990, Brooks and Kix Dunn have been at the top of the country music singles charts 23 times with songs like “Brand New Man,” “Boot Scootin’ Boogie,” “You’re Gonna Miss Me When I’m Gone,” “My Maria,” “Only In America” and “Red Dirt Road.” They are the industry’s most award-winning duo and have been named Entertainers of the Year four times.

They have gathered 20 Country Music Association Awards and 28 Academy of Country Music Awards, more than any other artist in ACM history, recently surpassing the legendary Merle Haggard in 2005. With more than 30 million records sold, the two mutually decided to pursue solo careers, saying goodbye to their fans as a duo with the Last Rodeo Tour this year.

Lady Antebellum released its first album in 2008, a rare freshman effort to debut at number one or go platinum. The group had three consecutive chart-topping singles in 2009, with “I Run to You,” from its self-titled debut album. The hit was followed by “Need You Now” and “American Honey” from the group’s sophomore album, “Need You Now.” The trio has enjoyed a total of eight weeks at number one in an eight-month period, and the triple platinum single “Need You Now” was the longest-running top hit on the Billboard Country Songs chart in 2009 with five consecutive weeks at the top. The song also approached the summit of the Top 40 chart and reached number one in multiple formats, including adult contemporary, iTunes all-genre singles chart and multiple international charts.

In addition to CMA, ACM and CMT awards, the trio also received a Grammy for Best Country Performance by a Duo or Group for “I Run to You.”

Rucker has always had a close kinship to country music and country artists.

“Growing up in South Carolina, it was always around, always on the radio,” Rucker said. First an acolyte of Buck Owens, Rucker naturally gravitated toward Dwight Yoakam, New Grass Revival and Radney Foster in his 20s. “When I first heard Radney’s voice on Foster and Lloyd’s ‘Crazy Over You,’ I thought, ‘this guy’s voice is bigger thanTexas.’ I’m thinking, ‘this is cool songwriting.’”

Rucker’s career path veered first into pop as the lead singer and co-writer for Hootie and the Blowfish. The Grammy-winning group’s 1994 debut, “Cracked Rear View,” is one of the best-selling albums in history, surpassing the 16 million album mark.

On his first country album, “Learn to Live,” his first project for Capitol Records Nashville,

Rucker has created a work that is steeped in the country traditions of meaningful lyrics and resonant melodies, yet sounds completely modern. It includes guest appearances by Brad Paisley on the humorous “All I Want” and Vince Gill and Alison Krauss on the inspirational “If I Had Wings.”

His third solo album and second country album, “Charleston, SC 1966,” was released on Oct. 12, featuring the singles “Come Back Song” and “This,” released on Nov. 22. The album opened at number two on the U.S. Billboard 200 and number one on the Top Country albums chart.

Raye was a hitmaker in the 1990s, and he continues to crank out material, releasing the albums “Fearless” in 2006 and “Never Going Back” in 2009.

He has had five platinum albums, 25 top 10 hits, including 15 reaching number one, and 12 chart-topping videos. Among his hits are “Love, Me,” “In This Life,” “That’s My Story,” “Little Rock,” “On the Verge,” “I Can Still Feel You,” “Little Red Rodeo,” “Couldn’t Last a Moment,” and many more.

The Jamboree is the Northwest’s largest country music and camping festival, recently recognized as one of the top 10 country music festivals in the nation. In addition to headline entertainment, this family style event hosts RV and tent camping, food booths, beer and wine gardens, Northwest Natural Kid Zone, and much more.

The presenting sponsor this year is Kendall Suburu.

The Oregon Jamboree is produced by the nonprofit Sweet Home Economic Development Group (SHEDG). All proceeds are used to benefit economic development and charitable projects in Sweet Home.

For more information or tickets, call 367-8800 or visit the Jamboree on the Web at http://www.oregonjamboree.com or through http://www.facebook.com.