'Successful' Jamboree draws crowds of 12,000-13,000 in 'nice' weather


August 8, 2018

Cloverdayle – Oregon natives Rachel and Chad Hamar, who have become Jamboree regulars, perform Friday. To see more Oregon Jamboree photo coverage, click on the Photos button above and go to the August 8 selections.

Oregon Jamboree Festival Director Robert Shamek summed up the weekend as "a successful weekend for the patrons, for sure" Monday after most of the guests had left town and tear-down operations were well under way.

"It wasn't too hot. It was nice."

Shamek said The Oregon Jamboree had 12,000 to 13,000 attendance each day of the three-day camping and country music festival held Friday through Sunday.

"There's a lot of festivals out there, a lot of stadium shows, a lot of great opportunities to watch shows in Oregon," he said, but the Oregon Jamboree has a big fan base, with many patrons attending 10, 15 or more years in a row.

The Jamboree's goal is to bring a lot of people to the area to have fun in Sweet Home, he said.

That means putting on the best show "you can," and Sweet Home did a good job at that, he added.

"We had a lot of great feedback," Shamek said. "Diamond Rio did a phenomenal job. A lot of people came in to watch Diamond Rio."

Maren Morris and Brett Eldredge made a great opening day, Shamek said, and local favorites Cloverdayle – Chad and Rachel Hamar, spent the weekend performing and visiting with fans.

Brewer's Grade was a hit too, Shamek said. "By the end of the festival they had a pretty good following."

Brewer's Grade stepped in to headline Sunday night on the after scheduled headliner Beau Braswell had to cancel following a motorcycle accident.

Danny Black, who performed last year and was on hand this year for live Facebook streaming, played on the Deschutes Brewery Park Stage in Sankey Park.

Black's live streaming was popular among fans, with many videos coming close to 3,000 views.

"We've never done any Facebook Live before," said Shamek, who began moving around the grounds with Black Thursday night during the 18th Avenue Kickoff Party.

Monday, they visited local businesses, like A&W, Trash to Treasure and the Bohemian Club to talk about the town and how the town is doing. They plan to use that footage in a 2019 Oregon Jamboree promotion showcasing the city and people coming into the city.

Personally, the highlight for Shamek is "when you look over the crowd and everybody is having a good time," he said. One of those moments was when "Brett Eldredge (on Friday night) told everybody to turn their phones on."

Crowd members pulled out their phones and lit up the Jamboree field, he said. "It's really cool to see patrons not just being there, but being engaged and on their feet."

Multiple patrons who spoke to The New Era gave a variety of reasons why they were there, ranging from a chance to hang out with friends to the small-town atmosphere to "alcohol."

Ronda Wilson and her daughter KC Cowell were on hand Friday afternoon from Deschutes County, part of a group of about a dozen who have been coming for 10 or 11 years, they said.

KC said she was looking forward to Maren Morris and Brantley Gilbert.

We've been coming since she graduated," Ronda said, adding that prior to that, during high school, her daughter showed livestock at the county fair, which always ran at the same time as the Jamboree, so they didn't start attending until KC graduated.


"We have corn hole tournaments at camp, and everybody drinks too much," said Ronda, who was looking forward to "some of the older acts, as well as the new and up-and-coming ones."

Cathy and Garth Degarlais from Cottage Grove said they have been to the Jamboree off and on for seven years.

"It's a fun time to come and hang out," said Garth, adding that he was looking forward to Clint Black. "A lot of years there's a lot of good entertainment on the stage."

"It's a fun time," Cathy said. "You listen to a lot of good music, and it's one big party."

A group of about a dozen women hailing from Springfield, Crow, Veneta and Lowell said they have been coming for nine years for the music and the beer, the crowd and camping.

"It's like a big, fun get-together with everybody," said Janelle Ramer. "Everybody loves each other, and we have major laughs."

Katie Cummings summed it up: "Friends, booze and atmosphere."

Jeremy Won, Natalie Brenny and Megan Hansen, all from Portland, were doing an impromptu dance with the women decked out in paper antlers.

Brenny said this was her eighth trip to the festival and the second for Won, her boyfriend.

She said that the antlers have become "a tradition" and they think their headgear actually got the attention of Keith Urban at the Jamboree, noting that he appeared to point them out during one of his performances.

During the event, the Oregon Jamboree announced the first member of its 2019 lineup, the Brothers Osborne. The duo's hit "Stay a Little Longer" reached No. 4 on Billboard charts after its release in 2015. Brothers Osborne has released two studio albums and an EP.

The Jamboree has quite a few offers out for 2019, Shamek said, and it will announce additional artists after receiving responses.

The festival expanded its Thursday Kickoff Party and free concert as a thank you to the community and to help raise money for the School District's arts programs. This year, proceeds will be used to help pay for permanent sound and improvements in the Sweet Home High School Auditorium.

SHOCASE, the Sweet Home Oregon Coalition for Artistic and Scholastic Enrichment, assisted in the fund-raising event.

"I'd like to thank the town for showing up because it was a great one," Shamek said. He estimated close to 1,000 people filled 18th Avenue to watch the show, which included sets by Morgan Evans, Brewer's Grade and Elana Jane, with drawings for a variety of prizes, like a three-day VIP package, meet and greet passes and Sweet Spot passes for the festival.

The street was packed, and nearby campers lined the sides of 18th Avenue to catch the show.

"From a public safety, law enforcement standpoint, it was a phenomenal weekend," said Police Chief Jeff Lynn. He said the festival produced what was probably the lowest call load for a Jamboree weekend since 2012. Police walked a couple of people off the concert grounds, and someone reported a cell phone had been taken.

Incidents outside the festival grounds were few and far between, Lynn said, and the calls that police did take mostly involved local residents. Overall, he estimated the call load was down by 60 to 70 on Monday. He had not compiled statistics yet for the weekend.

"It was really good," said Fire Chief Dave Barringer. "It was super uneventful."

The Sweet Home Fire and Ambulance District had a normal call volume, Barringer said. On the concert grounds, medics had a few minor aid calls, which are not counted as part of the department's call volume.

"We didn't have the heat," he said, and that made a difference.

–Reporter Sarah Brown

contributed to this story

KMTR-TV reporter Jessica Waite gets a rise from the crowd at the Oregon Jamboree Kickoff Party Thursday evening, Aug. 9.


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