MORRISTOWN - What began as a slow week for business in and around Jamboree In The Hills has turned out to be on par or better than previous festivals, business owners said Friday.
At two gas stations and convenience stores off of Interstate 70 exit 213, parking lots were full just after noon Friday, and owners said business has picked up since the festival kicked off Thursday.
"It was a little slower starting out than normal, but it's been as busy as ever since Thursday," said Brian Smith, owner of Smith Sunoco.
Photo by J.W. Johnson Jr.
Jamey Johnson performs Friday night during the second day of the Jamboree In The Hills music festival in Morristown.
Smith said the store stopped selling alcohol four years ago after offering it for decades. But he said business during Jamboree week hasn't taken a hit because of it, and if anything has made his store a place to stop.
"We haven't missed a beat," he said. "Customers know they can come here and get non-alcoholic items quicker than at other places."
At Houston's Chicken and Ribs stand behind the store, owner Chad Houston said business has been steady, with a mix of local customers and out-of-towners in for Jamboree. Houston has been operating the stand since 1991 and said his regular customer base continues to grow.
"The demand is up this year, people remember us," he said.
Friday's crowd was noticeably rowdy despite cool temperatures and scattered showers. The lineup was built to promote the party atmosphere, with Drake White and Aaron Lewis kicking off the evening.
Throwback artist Jamey Johnson and Charlie Daniels served as primers for Friday's fireworks and the headline set from rock legends Lynyrd Skynyrd.
Today's events kick off with the Running of the Rednecks at 6 a.m., followed by opening ceremonies at 11 a.m. Performers include Ron Retzer and 11/70, Brother Trouble, Tristen Smith, Eden's Edge, Lorrie Morgan, Neal McCoy, Eli Young Band, Little Big Town and headliners Rascal Flatts.