How to Properly Jam at the Oregon Jamboree

Keith Urban, Dierks Bentley, Kelsea Ballerini Heading to Northwest Festival

Forget Sweet Home, Alabama. For country music fans, it’s all about Sweet Home, Oregon, for the Oregon Jamboree taking place Friday through Sunday (July 31-Aug. 2).

Never heard of the place? Well, it’s about to be all over your map as some the biggest names in country music trek up to picturesque northwest town for a weekend of two massive stages and 22 performances guaranteed to make you pause and say, “Bonnaroo who?”

I know, I know, for a music festival fanatic like myself, that’s quite a bold statement. But here’s what excites me about the Oregon Jamboree:
It’s not just the performances from favorites like Keith Urban, Dierks Bentley, Lee Brice, Sam Hunt, Thomas Rhett and Kelsea Ballerini … along with many others, including the legendary Aaron Tippin. (Aaron, we love you!) It’s the gorgeous mountain scenery, the camping out, the justifiable excuse to either not brush your wilderness hair for two days or the perfect reason to rock some bohemian hippie braids and flowers in your mane. Plus, you can wear flannel in July. That’s what sets this fest apart from the rest.

So for all you attendees, let’s talk the game plan for making the most out of your jammin’ Jamboree experience:

Pack That Jacket: Sure, we’re in the middle of a long, hot summer (thanks, Keith), but this is the Northwest, and at night, those temps can drop down faster than the front row at that smoking’ Sam Hunt show. I’m talking temps down in the 50’s, kids, so be wise: Check the weather report and pack a jacket for when the sun goes down. Or maybe find a cute cowboy or cowgirl to snuggle up to. (Hey, when in Oregon … !)

Take Advantage of the Sweet Spots: Festival goers, hear my plea: if you’re willing and able, absolutely upgrade to what the festival calls the “sweet spot.” It’s the standing-room-only area where you can park yourself right in front of the stage without blocking the view of the fans behind you. I mean, if you can get that close to Dierks, why wouldn’t you? Access to the sweet spot section does require an additional wristband, but those can be purchased in advance each day of the festival. And they’re good all day long.

Excuse Me, I Think You’ve Got My Chair: Standard camping chairs are totally acceptable for when you need to rest your festive boots during a show. However there are rules and regulations. To make sure you aren’t spending worthwhile jam time dragging your “illegal chair” back to the car or campsite, check out the festival website for the official specs and requirements. Among the other rules listed online: no double chair loungers, recliners, folding metal chairs or blanket seating allowed.

Showers, Suds and Shuttles: Yes, you can shower … and, yes, there are shuttles. Showers are actually $4 a pop, with schedule times and locations posted on the festival’s website. As for the shuttles, those are free and run to and from various spots around the festival grounds (all posted online) every 15-30 minutes throughout the day. They’ll also continue to run at least an hour at the end of each day, too. Hey, there’s no shame in staying so fresh and clean and getting in on a little chauffeured action.

At the end of the day, we all know the most important things to remember are to mind your manners, be good to other festival attendees, enjoy the music and make memories as big as those mountains. It’s all about the Jam.

If you’re traveling to the Oregon Jamboree, here’s a country music playlist for the trip:

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Samantha is a country radio insider with a deep love for the music and its stars. She can often be found on a red carpet or at a late-night guitar pull.