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Howard's Commentary - As God is My Witness, I Will Never Attend Again!

Jamboree In The Hills has come to an end. After 40 years, it's gone. And many country music fans are going ballistic.

Of course, if you've been paying any attention, you know what's happened is a name change to "Jambo Country". And a few other changes.

Kelly Tucker-Jones said fans will not be allowed to bring in coolers or alcohol to Jambo Country. Alcohol will be sold on site, however. Also not permitted are glass bottles or cans, no beverages other than one, 20-ounce factory-sealed bottle of water, large bags, illegal substances, laser pointers, zoom lens cameras, animals (with the exception of service animals), audio or video recorders, weapons or fireworks. Fans may be searched at the gate for contraband. ( 12-05-16)

Many folks call it "corporate greed" and say it's all about the Benjamins. Which is probably true.

And there is little doubt that the changes will mean loss of business for those who sold beer, pop, water, ice, snacks, coolers and the like.

But Jamboree In....uh, I mean Jambo a business. It's not now and never was a "public service" or a "community event". It never was OURS, it always was THEIRS.

So yes, a 3-day event will cost less than a 4-day one. And inside beer and beverage sales will increase significantly.

But venues around America--from concert grounds to sports stadiums--have become dramatically more aware of issues like underage drinking and drunk driving. JITH corporate owners Live Nation are very aware of the changing attitudes toward these and are adapting to the times.

No one likes change. It's always uncomfortable and usually brings out fist shaking and foot stomping (I'LL NEVER ATTEND AGAIN).

But we've been through these upheavals in community events before.

  • Italian fest left market street and moved to the waterfront --and even added those dang alcohol wrist bands
  • Wheeling Christmas parade went from day to night and decided to drop some "community" entries to upgrade to a more professional event
  • Wheeling's beloved Thunderbirds became the Nailers
  • Even JITH moved from Brush Run to the new location

And each time there were outcries that "this is the end, the public won't support it".

And in each occasion, the events only grew bigger and better.

I'm sure there are some who will make last year their final visit. But for more most, after venting to friends and Facebook, they will make their annual trek, adjust their spending and partying, and continue to enjoy their weekend in July.