The Jamboree In The Hills located on 206 acres of Belmont County, Ohio is one of the most legendary country music festival around and can be compared to country music’s version of Woodstock. This week long event that takes place every July is the home to country music legends, current musical sensations, and up and coming artists for the last 40 years. This festival does not discriminate against who performs at this event, and every artists gets the chance to make their debut up on the hills. Fans of up to 100,000 have come together for this incredible experience.
So what is Jamboree In The Hills, exactly? It is a weeklong country music festival that has performances on the Thursday through Sunday. However, the festival begins much earlier than Thursday – there are pre-parties Monday through Wednesday including bands and a good time. This year Neal McCoy is performing a free show on Wednesday night with local favorite Township Road courtesy of the Pandhandle Cleaning and Restoration to get the party started. On the Monday, fans and campers alike from all over arrive to the campground of the hills (which is filled with over 30 food vendors, shower trailers, restrooms and more) and start unloading their campers and pitching their tents for the week. One of the best things about JITH is that their guests are allowed to bring their own cooler with food and drink – a definite perk for festival goers!
The festival started in 1977 with Johnny Cash, Merle Haggard, Tammy Wynette and Blue Ridge Quartet performing (to name a few). In 1987, performers from George Strait, Jerry Lee Lewis, Dwight Yoakam, Reba McEntire and Charlie Daniels Band had made their debut at the Jamboree In The Hills. Add on another 10 years, and in that span of time artists like Willie Nelson, George Jones, Garth Brooks, Randy Travis, Waylon Jennings, Travis Tritt, Alan Jackson, Joe Diffie, Brooks & Dunn, Hank Williams JR., Toby Keith, Tim McGraw, Loretta Lynn, Kenny Chesney and so many more made their debut and reappearances to the hills. As the festival increases in age, the lineups continue to get better and better. Fast forward to 2007 when Brad Paisley, The Beach Boys, Rascal Flats, Keith Urban, Chris LeDoux, ZZ Top, Weird Al Yankovic, Dierks Bentley, Lynard Skynard, Eric Church, Carrie Underwood, Miranda Lambert and Taylor Swift made appearances in or prior to that year. Now in 2017, artists like Luke Bryan, Zac Brown Band, Sugarland, Colt Ford, Tyler Farr, Blake Shelton, The Band Perry, Eli Young Band, The Pistol Annies, Justin Moore, Sam Hunt, Cole Swindell and more have already made their debuts. And now as year 40 rolls around, the lineups are still continuing to get better but the atmosphere remains the same.
It can be considered the Woodstock of country music because fans from all over flock to nothing but empty fields and pitch tents/camp out all weekend to hear amazing music. There is simplicity in music – it makes people feel alive, it makes them come together as one, and makes listeners feel at peace – which is exactly what Woodstock and Jamboree In The Hills embody. The difference between the two is that Jamboree is reoccurring unlike the once in a lifetime rock n’ roll festival.
Opening ceremonies take place before each day of performances with contests and prizes, as well. The lineup of artists starts performing mid-afternoon and doesn’t stop until long after the sun sets. After all is said and done, there is an after party called “Jambo After Dark” where more bands play and the campers can continue their “good vibes and good times” mentality. Fireworks are also displayed during the Friday performance right before the headliner. Thursday through Saturday is dedicated to the current artist phenomenon’s as well as budding artists. The Sunday show is geared towards the veteran country music artists and Jamboree performers to close out the week in style.
This is years amazing lineup includes some of the hottest names in country music right now, as well as some Jamboree repeat performers. Thursday (7/13) kicks it off with Joe Zelek, Ashley McBryde, RaeLynn, our good friends and NECM festival performers The Cadillac Three, Brothers Osborne and headliner Thomas Rhett.
Friday (7/14) matches the talent of the previous lineup with Dee Jay Silver, Kane Brown, Chris Young and Jason Aldean headlining (3 time JITH performer), along with a firework display. Shane Owens and Township Road are on as openers that afternoon.
Saturday (7/15) is when the party really turns it up a couple notches with a whopping 10 acts performing starting at 11am. Waterloo Revival, High Valley, LANCO, Brett Young and Kelsea Ballerini, to name a few, are opening for Lady Antebellum.
To close out the weekend on Sunday 7/16, Lee Greenwood (8-time performer), Aaron Tippin (3 times), Tanya Tucker (7 times), Sammy Kershaw (10 times) and Sawyer Brown (5 times) are set to play. These artists are veterans to the excitement that this festival entails and the newcomers can learn a thing or two from them on how to rule to hills crowd.
It’s safe to say that the leaders of Jamboree In The Hills have put together another stellar summertime festival with a lineup full of talented performers – it will surely be a show to remember. If you can’t make your way out to Ohio for this round, be sure to start planning for next years festival, its definitely something that you want to put on the bucket list!
Tickets for Jamboree In The Hills can be purchased here.