Heading for the Hills

Thousands of fans of country music from across the United States and Canada are converging on Eastern Ohio this week, making their way to Morristown for Jamboree in the Hills.

Area businesses will get a boost from the 100,000 or so fans who will take part in the four-day event, which opens Thursday. The jamboree means that hotel accommodations will be hot commodities in our region, and other businesses, from restaurants to convenience stores, to department stores to gasoline stations, can expect to see added traffic.

It’s the classic convergence of big entertainment and big business, a chance for fans of all ages and from all backgrounds to dress down in T-shirts and tank tops, grab a cold beverage and listen to many of today’s top country acts and some all-time event favorites.

The music, after all, is what’s allowed Jamboree in the Hills to work across the decades. It has changed along with the music genre it continues to honor, evolving as country music has grown. The 1977 lineup, for instance included country standards Barbara Mandrell, Tom T. Hall and Charlie Rich, along with music icon Johnny Cash. This year’s lineup will encompass today’s country music, including local favorites Joe Zelek and the Joseph Sisters and some of the brightest stars in music today, including Miranda Lambert, Toby Keith and Trace Adkins.

Other outdoor country music festivals have come and gone, but Jamboree in the Hills continues to thrive and grow, and that’s a tribute to the music – and the fans.

What began as a small music festival in the mid-1970s has grown into one of the premiere stops on the country music circuit. It’s a summer tradition, one that’s good for those who appreciate today’s country music and one that’s good for the economy of the Tri-State Area.