Heavy Rain, Wind Hold Up Friday JITH Performances

MORRISTOWN – Heavy rain and wind temporarily delayed Jamboree In The Hills on Friday but couldn’t dampen the spirits of a capacity crowd.

Many took cover under tarps, while others braved the monsoon and slid through the mud in typical Jamboree fashion.

After an hour delay, the show resumed with the crowd no less enthusiastic than before, helped by The Davisson Brothers’ energetic performance.

Elsewhere at the festival, Belmont County Sheriff Dave Lucas said planning for security begins long before the event, with his office, along with the Ohio State Highway Patrol and representatives from the festival, coordinating operations. Additional deputies from across the state are on site all weekend to handle everything from crowd control to making arrests.

“We all have a good working relationship, so it makes the coordination easy,” Lucas said.

With this being Lucas’ first Jamboree as sheriff, he has implemented a number of new ideas to further ensure safety. Electronic signs are in place on roadways around the venue, and temporary stop lights have been installed on U.S. 40. Lucas said those lights are positioned near the areas where concert-goers are crossing the roadway. Last year, at least one person was struck by a vehicle while crossing the road.

“They’re positioned that way because after the show, there is a high influx of people heading back to the campground, and this way we can slow traffic down to let them cross safely,” he said.

Additionally, Lucas said officers inside the venue are wearing shirts that clearly announce that they are law enforcement officials.

“If an issue arises, there should not be any question that this person is a police officer,” Lucas said of the uniforms.

Outside of the venue, Lucas said his office has also been working with the Ohio Department of Transportation to better handle any traffic issues that arise. He said construction near Ohio 9 at the St. Clairsville exit has traffic briefly rerouted, though no issues have been reported thus far.

Likewise, Lucas said no problems have been reported at the Morristown exit, where crews are working to install a large, new truck stop just off exit 208.

“I was out there yesterday, and they’re working on the property but not close to the road,” he said.

Similarly, Lucas said his deputies have not observed any large trucks or equipment going to or from a natural gas well just east of the Jamboree venue.

“We’ve seen the usual local equipment and trucks, but nothing with that gas industry,” he said.

The extra security for crowd control was needed Friday, as officials said a record-breaking audience was on hand to see superstars like Luke Bryan and Florida Georgia Line. Other Friday acts included Ruff Creek and and Thompson Square.