Oregon Jamboree crowd shaping up to be big one

Sean C. Morgan

Of The New Era

Get ready. Country music fans – lots of them – are on the way.

This weekend’s 27th annual Oregon Jamboree is likely to be one of the biggest ever; it more than doubles the population of Sweet Home and welcomes headliners Hank Williams Jr., Chris Young and Brothers Osborne.

“The Jamboree this year is going great,” said Festival Director Robert Shamek. “We’re ahead as far as equipment coming in.”

Tents started going up on Saturday, Shamek said, noting that the School District and city have worked “really well” with the festival. “They bend over backward to help out, which is really nice.”

With current ticket sales, Shamek expects the 2019 festival, which begins with a free Kickoff Party on 18th Avenue at 4 p.m. Thursday, to rank with 2015, pushing 16,000 fans on the field each day.

The festival set its record for attendance in 2014 with more than 16,000 showing up to see Blake Shelton, Miranda Lambert and Jake Owen.

On the field, the Jamboree has just a few reserved seats left, Shamek said.

Those are mostly singles, said Katie Schrock, marketing director. Some Sweet Spot tickets remain, but Sunday’s Sweet Spots are almost gone.

Camping keeps selling out, and the festival has to keep finding new sites.

“We sold out all the volunteer camping at Northside Park,” Shamek said, and the festival had to open up another volunteer campsite off of 49th Avenue. Overall, the festival still has about a dozen RV sites and a few tent sites left.

So far, it has sold some 2,000, Shamek said.

That’s about 30 percent higher than last year, Schrock said.

As of the first of July, the Jamboree had already sold more of everything than it did last year, Shamek said, and he anticipates strong ticket sales Thursday and Friday.

“This year, the weather’s looking really nice,” Shamek said. When it gets into the hundreds, “people tend to stay in their trailers longer.”

After starting headliners late last year in an effort to beat the heat of preceding years, the festival returned to an earlier schedule this year, with Friday and Saturday’s shows beginning at 9:30 p.m.

Eighteenth Avenue opens at 4 p.m. Thursday for the annual Kickoff Party, its second year in the street. Gilgamesh Brewing will provide food and drinks along with several other vendors.

Local singer Hannah Wible will perform the National Anthem, kicking off a free concert. Opening is Justin Lee at 5 p.m. Matt Stell plays at 6:30 p.m., and Travis Denning headlines at 8 p.m.

The Sweet Home Oregon Coalition for Artistic and Scholastic Enrichment is selling raffle tickets for Jamboree prizes and vendors will donate a portion of their proceeds to help pay for a new curtain system in the Sweet Home High School auditorium and other SHOCASE projects in support of the arts.

Last year, 18th Avenue filled with about 800, Shamek said.

“We’re predicting probably close to 2,000 this year.”

Crown Royal will be at the Kickoff Party with Stuff the Bags for the Troops, Shamek said, where concertgoers can write a note and fill bags with supplies to be donated to deployed soldiers.

The Kickoff Stage is sponsored by Crown Royal, Weyerhaeuser and Sweet Home Edward Jones representative Jared Cornell, who is also a SHEDG board member.

Overall, “this year, we’re trying to keep it the same,” Shamek said of the Jamboree. The main field is nearly identical to last year’s.

But Sankey Park looks a lot better with all of the work the city has put in during the last year, removing gravel, planting grass and installing new restrooms, Shamek said.

At 10 a.m. Sunday, a group of 10 churches will host “Jamboree Worship” at Husky Field. Pastor Drew Emmert of River of Life Fellowship has led the effort.

The service is not associated with the Jamboree, Shamek said, but festival staff are helping to facilitate the service, and Cloverdayle will be part of the program.

On Friday, Lindsay Ell will kick the Jamboree off at 3 p.m. Blackhawk follows at 5 p.m. High Valley plays at 7 p.m., and Hank Williams Jr. headlines at 9:30 p.m.

Shamek said the Jamboree will have a 2020 festival announcement Friday evening.

On the Deschutes Brewery Park Stage, in Sankey Park, Justin Lee performs at 2 p.m., followed by Never Come Down at 4 p.m. and Nate Botsford at 6 p.m., with Jamboree fan favorite Cloverdayle headlining at 8:30 p.m.

Saturday, Britnee Kellogg returns to the Jamboree at 1 p.m. Cort Carpenter follows at 3 p.m., with Terri Clark at 5 p.m. and Scotty McCreery at 7 p.m. Chris Young headlines at 9:30 p.m.

On the Deschutes Brewery Park Stage, Crash Rodeo begins the day at noon. Boondock Boys play at 2 p.m., Sweet Home’s Jobe Woosley & Co. takes the stage at 4 p.m., Britnee Kellogg plays at 6 p.m., with Cort Carpenter headlining at 8:30 p.m.

Sunday, Jackson Michelson of Corvallis opens at 12:30 p.m. Mitchell Tenpenny performs at 2:30 p.m., followed by Jamboree fan-favorite Neal McCoy. Brothers Osborne headline at 7 p.m.

In Sankey Park, the Jessie Leigh Band plays at 1:30 p.m., Adam Larson & Co. plays at 3:30 p.m., and Jackson Michelson headlines at 6 p.m.

Among the Jamboree veterans this year are Neal McCoy, who is “just highly requested,” Shamek said. Also returning to the Jamboree are Cloverdayle, Adam Larson & Co., Jackson Michelson, Cort Carpenter and Britnee Kellogg.

Hank Williams Jr. is a big draw this year, Shamek said, noting that each headliner draws from different audiences.

“He’s on everybody’s bucket list. He doesn’t play the Northwest very often. To get him at a festival is pretty unique.”

While Hank Williams Jr. is a big draw, Sweet Spot passes have gone like crazy for Brothers Osborne, and Mitchell Tenpenny has been taking off lately, Schrock said. He has been touring with Chris Young.

“Friday is definitely our biggest day,” Shamek said, but when people realize three-day passes are just $170, a little extra, they’ve been buying the extra days.