Jamboree Has Something for Everyone

MORRISTOWN – For an event to bill itself as the Super Bowl of Country Music, it has to deliver.

For 38 years, Jamboree In The Hills has delivered, bringing in the biggest names in country music as well as up-and-coming artists who are on the threshold of stardom.

Still, ask any of the thousands of concert-goers what makes the event unique and fun, and you’ll get a wide variety of answers.

Many in the crowd pointed to some of the more obvious staples of the event. A group in front of the stage pointed to the photo line in front of the stage, which allows attendees a chance to snap up-close photos of their favorite artist. Still others surveyed in Valley View Campground said the camping – which now extends to nearly two weeks before performers take the JITH stage – as the biggest draw.

Many who were surveyed pointed to the “Redneck Run” – the daily sprint for a prime spot that tests eager concert-goers’ endurance after a long night of waiting in line – as the defining Jamboree In The Hills quirk. At 8 a.m. Thursday, hundreds of people took off, tarps in hand, to get the best spot they could. Many strategized as they waited, formulating plans for where and how to throw their square tarps to stake claim to the maximum amount of space. Others emblazoned their tarps with logos and symbols in another effort to mark their territory.

No matter what it is, JITH means something different to everyone, which is what event organizers believe makes it special.

“We try to keep everything the same as we have since Jamboree began,” said Casey Tucker, media coordinator for the event.

Tucker said the family atmosphere of the Jamboree operations also helps keep the festival’s unique aspects intact.

“It’s the same people every year, and everyone loves the event and wants to keep it as close to the original as possible,” she said.

Thursday’s acts included openers A Thousand Horses, Kelleigh Bannen and upstart Cole Swindell, who had the crowd dancing and singing along. David Nail, Darius Rucker and headliner Little Big Town closed out the evening.

Today’s festivities kick off with opening ceremonies at 4 p.m., followed by local musician and JITH theme song singer Joe Zelek, Sam Hunt, Brett Eldredge, Brantley Gilbert and headliner Keith Urban.