SWEET HOME — The COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic has shut down schools and businesses around the world, but not the annual Oregon Jamboree country music festival scheduled for July 31-Aug. 2.
It's still alive and kickin', according to director Robert Shamek.
At least for now, although Gov. Kate Brown has issued an executive order banning all mass gatherings statewide.
“No artists have cancelled and we are going to evaluate things and make another report on June 1,” Shamek said. “As of now, we’re going ahead as planned and our partners are doing the same thing.”
Shamek said the Jamboree — which is held on a sports field behind Sweet Home High School and in Sankey Park — is going to continue to sell tickets, adding that sales have been solid.
“Sales have slowed down the last two weeks, but sales have been phenomenal,” Shamek said. “We are almost sold out of our 2,400 reserved seats and there aren’t many of our 600 premiere seats left.”
Nearly 2,500 of 3,000 campsites have already been reserved, Shamek said.
Three-day passes range in price from $160 to $295 for adults.
Shamek said the annual mystery concert scheduled for April 2 has been rescheduled for June 17.
Shamek said there have been several Facebook live shows in recent weeks. Upcoming shows include Cort Carpenter and Cloverdayle.
“We want to continue to give our fans something to enjoy, some normalcy,” Shamek said.
Shamek said several music festivals in other states have closed.
“Our artists haven’t cancelled, which is good,” Shamek said. “They all want to get back out there and put on shows for their fans.”
Dierks Bentley, who has performed at the Jamboree in 2007 and 2015, is scheduled to headline the July 31 opening day of the festival. Dustin Lynch is the Aug. 1 headliner and Old Dominion will headline the Aug. 2 show.
On Feb. 29 the Jamboree received the 2019 Music Festival of the Year award from the Oregon Festivals and Events Association, during the annual Ovation Awards program held in Bend.
The event has a $2.1 million budget and offers 25 shows on two stages.
More than 1,000 volunteers are key to the fundraising event sponsored by the Sweet Home Economic Development Group.
Local non-profit groups such as Sweet Home High School sports teams, earn tens of thousands of dollars hauling ice to vendor sites and staffing soda booths.
The music festival has hosted some of the top names in country music over the years including Wynonna Judd, Carrie Underwood, Hank Williams Jr., the Oak Ridge Boys, Reba McEntire, Toby Keith and Brooks and Dunn.
It was formed as a way to generate economic development funds in Sweet Home after the downturn of the timber industry in the early 1990s due to the listing of the northern spotted owl as a threatened species.
Wynonna Judd headlined the first two festivals in 1992 and 1993.
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