Tune it Up Tuesdays Moves to Larger Venue

An estimated 150 people sit under the shelter at the new location for Tune it Up Tuesdays where they listened to live music, and enjoyed food, alcohol and social interaction. Photos by Sarah Brown

Tune it Up Tuesdays kicked off with country rock artist Joel Gibson Jr., of Washington, on June 4, premiering at a new location for a better experience.

Held for the first time at 1851 Tamarack St., the venue boasted enough space for plenty of parking, a location for classic car hobbyists to show off their hot rods, and even a large covered area to provide shelter from sun and rain.

A pair of gals try their hand at a cornhole game while Joel Gibson Jr. performs in the background.

Also at the event this past week were food and alcohol vendors, portable restrooms, a cornhole game and even an area sectioned off for littlest children. Older kids were seen playing tag, and three residents who lived nearby drove themselves to the event in their motorized scooters, which also served as their seats during the performance.

“We’re happy with this because we can be a part of it in just our backyard,” one of those residents said (who wished to remain anonymous). “It’s a great thing for the Sweet Home community.”

Originating through the City of Sweet Home, Sweet Home Chamber of Commerce and Oregon Jamboree, the first Tune it Up event took place in 2021 at the Farmers’ Market next to the library, but it quickly moved to the parking lot next to Rio Theatre.

According to Jamboree Festival Director Robert Shamek, the chamber wanted Tune it Up to expand, so they approached Jamboree for help.

“We were like, ‘Absolutely, but we’re gonna have to move it’ because we wanted it to grow,” Shamek said.

Restored classic automobiles sit on display at the new location for Tune it Up Tuesdays.

For three years, Tune it Up Tuesdays was held next to Rio, providing a free public event in the downtown core complete with not only live music, but also food vendors and an opportunity to show off classic cars.

In 2023, it became apparent the location could no longer hold the growing event, which Shamek reported had an estimated 600 in attendance.

“Last year it just blew up there and we didn’t have enough places to park people,” he said.

That was also the first year that Jamboree’s Music & Brews was held at the new location on Tamarack Street and 18th Avenue, an old mill property.

“This is kinda the direction we’re going because there’s just so much space for everybody to park,” Shamek said.

Hosted by Oregon Jamboree’s Sweet Events, the affair takes place every Tuesday in June and features a Battle of the Bands, which provides upcoming artists a chance to compete for a spot in the year’s Jamboree. Voted on by the audience at Tune it Up, the winning band will open for Pecos & The Rooftops, and will return next year on the main stage.

Area residents watch Joel Gibson Jr. perform at this year’s first Tune it Up Tuesday event.

This is the third year Tune it Up held a Battle of the Bands, providing musicians an opportunity to grow their fan base. Outlaw Shine won the first battle in 2022, followed by Toast & Jam in 2023.

“We’re really just trying to build these guys’ names up,” Shamek said. “We kinda build them up on the second stage and then once they get a good audience going, we’ll shuffle them over onto the main stage.”

The next bands to battle it out for a Jamboree spot in the coming weeks are Sycho Billy’s String Band (Silverton, Ore.), Lance Michael Cornwell (northern California) and Alex Hensley & The Heathens (Texas).

Joel Gibson Jr. performs on stage during Tune it Up Tuesday on June 4.

Among an estimated 150 attendees at the first performance of the year were Josh and Jessica Rice, and their 9-month-old, Juniper, who was equipped with a pair of headphones over her ears.

“We like her to experience everything that we get to do, so the headphones make it possible for her,” Jessica noted.

The couple agreed the new venue was a better location for parking and acoustics.

“It just seems more like an actual event over here versus where it was last year,” Jessica said.

Josh added that Tune it Up Tuesdays is a fun experience for Sweet Home to have, providing great entertainment. And, perhaps Shamek says it best when he asks, “What else are you going to do on a Tuesday night in Sweet Home?”