Record Breaking Attendance at Jamboree

Benny Westcott

The 31st Oregon Jamboree this weekend brought out thousands of fans to catch headliners Lynyrd Skynyrd, Cody Johnson, and Parker McCollum, as well as a cast of other country crooners – there were 25 shows in all – performing on both the main stage and a secondary stage in Sankey Park.

Robert Shamek, festival director, said the event was 100% sold out. “It was great weather, great music and amazing people,” he said.

Friday broke an all-time record for Jamboree attendance with 16,000 people. Saturday broke the record again with 18,500. Then 15,500 attended on Sunday.

Nikea Thompson, 44, of Sweet Home, volunteered to help set up for the event Monday through Wednesday with Sweet Home High School football team members, including her son Nathan Thompson.

“To watch an entire city go up in the middle of Sweet Home effortlessly is amazing,” she said. Her favorite part of the Jamboree was standing front row for the Lynyrd Skynyrd concert, after which she was able to leave with three guitar picks from the band as souvenirs.

She appreciated the crowd control. “For as many people as they crammed into this place, it didn’t feel like it,” she noted. She said she didn’t see a single “negative experience” over the weekend. She did see a couple marriage proposals, which was memorable.

Thompson also took note of some logistical elements that she favored.

“They put a lot of thought and energy into distributing things like bathrooms,” she said. “There were a lot more of them, which kept lines down. As a lady, we appreciate that. And there was a lot of thought put into distributing drink tents, which kept lines down, so you weren’t in line the whole concert over and over again.”

She added that, “Whatever I needed, it was easy to get to, accessible, fast, efficient.”

Hanna Vanderploeg of Marcola, 17, came with her mom and sisters. She has been coming to the Jamboree for 10 years, and said she had a blast this year.

“I really enjoyed Lainey Wilson and how she brought all the energy on the stage,” she said. “She was very outgoing and interacted with us very well.”

Vanderploeg added that “My favorite parts were the sunsets with the singing and dancing. And seeing people going up on the big board and seeing their reactions to being put up there is really cool.”

She said she really enjoyed the Caesar salad wraps and ice cream.

Paige Davis of Springfield, who at just 25 years of age estimates that she’s been coming to the Jamboree for 20 years, said, “This year felt very inclusive for all ages. I would say that’s definitely a perk.”

Adrian Montes, also 25 and of Springfield, said, “The best performance was Cody Johnson by far. That man’s voice was beyond this world.” He added that “Overall, the Jamboree was a great, amazing time.”