Posted by: Amy | July 28, 2010

June 3 & 4 – 2010 BamaJam Music and Arts Festival, Enterprise, AL

Of all of the shows and events that I’ve attended this year (over 35 shows year-to-date), this was probably my favorite event. Where else can you see such a heavy hitting, diverse lineup for such a reasonable price? Tickets purchased in advance were only $99 for a three day wristband. Even if fans purchased tickets at the gate, I don’t think that they were more than $175 for the three day pass. With an artist line up that included Miranda Lambert, Dierks Bentley, Zac Brown Band, Jamey Johnson, Hank Williams, Jr and Kenny Chesney, fans more than got their money’s worth! The festival also gave artists on BamaJam Records and Stroudavarious Records (both labels affiliated with BamaJam’s founder Ronnie Gilley) an outlet for showcasing their talent. BamaJam Records artists at the festival were Matt Kennon and Blackberry Smoke. Stroudavarious was represented at the festival by LoCash Cowboys and Houston County.

I was only able to attend the Thursday and Friday of the festival, so I missed out on Saturday’s shows which included Kenny Chesney’s performance. But, in the two days that I was there, I had an amazing time! I dragged my mom along to the first day of the festival. She wasn’t hard to convince as Miranda Lambert and Dierks Bentley were the main stage’s two headliners and she’s a fan of both of them. We got to the festival grounds around 3:00 on Thursday afternoon. After checking into the media tent, we made our way to the D Stage to catch Brantley Gilbert’s performance. A light rain was falling, but we were prepared with ponchos and umbrellas. I was at BamaJam last year and it rained heavily the first day, which set the stage for lots of mud for the entire weekend. Thankfully, the rain wasn’t so bad this year and the festival organizers also seemed to be more prepared. There was lots of sand and gravel placed in the areas that were particularly muddy and slippery last year. That change was definitely noticed and appreciated! We had a little confusion as to where the D Stage was, as it wasn’t clearly labeled on the site map, but after inquiring at one of the information tents, we learned that it was located inside the Bama Slam Saloon area. Brantley has built a grassroots following due to his constant touring. He also has a lot of younger fans. The only drawback of his location at the D Stage was that the Saloon area was a 21 and up restricted space. During his performance I saw several families with younger children lined up against one of the fences near the back of the stage so that they could at least hear Brantley sing. He put on a great show, as usual. All of the fans up front were singing along to every word.

Brantley Gilbert
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After Brantley’s set, my mom and I made our way to the main stage and picked a spot in the back away from the crowd, but with a good view of the stage. We got there just in time to see the end of Danny Gokey’s set. I made my way to the media tent after Danny’s set. I was able to take pictures from the press pit for the first three songs of each artists’ set. Chris Young’s was the first set that I got to see from the press pit. It was really loud down there, but pretty cool to be that close to the action. I made my way back to my seat after the first three songs of Chris’ set. I enjoyed listening to his traditional country voice as he sang songs from both of his albums as well as several cover songs. Miranda Lambert was next and I again made my way down to the photo pit. Miranda’s set list was very similar to her set on the Roadside Bars and Pink Guitars tour. She put on a high energy show and had the crowd on its feet. Dierks Bentley closed out the first night on the main stage with a good mix of his radio hits and songs from his bluegrass album Up on the Ridge. Midway through Dierks’ set, there was a noticeable exodus from the main stage seating to the B Stage for Zac Brown Band’s set, which overlapped with Dierks’ show. Judging from the number of fans heading to see ZBB’s set, I think that ZBB could have been scheduled on the main stage. Their star has really risen in the last few months. Although many fans left, there were still thousands in attendance who stayed for Dierks’ whole show. After his performance, he jumped into the crowd and began signing autographs for the fans near the catwalk. He definitely capped off a perfect first day for the festival.

Chris Young
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Miranda Lambert
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Dierks Bentley
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See all of the pictures from Day One here.

Day Two started with an interview with Blackberry Smoke. When the interview was finished, I made my way back to the media tent to hang out in the shade. I had struck up a conversation with some of the other people in the media tent on Thursday night and on Friday we all chatted and hung out between sets. For most of the people that I was with, this was also their first experience of being in the media area. We were all enjoying seeing the artists up close and conducting interviews for our various media outlets. Colt Ford was in the media tent when I got back from the Blackberry Smoke interview. He had just finished meeting with some fans and was being presented with a commemorative bottle of Jim Beam. I made my way to the photo pit for Colt’s rockin’ set. He’s got a devoted fan base and they were there early and ready to party with Colt. When I got back to the media area, Blackberry Smoke was there taking pictures and receiving their bottle of Jim Beam. They played after Colt’s set and were introduced by Jim Beam’s grandson. Jim Beam is one of the band’s sponsors. They put on a great show filled with their Southern rock flavored country sounds. Be sure to check out their latest album Little Piece of Dixie. It’s really one of my favorite albums right now!

Colt Ford
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Charlie Starr – Blackberry Smoke
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Richard Turner – Blackberry Smoke
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Paul Jackson – Blackberry Smoke
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Brit Turner – Blackberry Smoke
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Brandon Still – Blackberry Smoke
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Randy Houser was in the media tent when we got back from the photo pit for Blackberry Smoke’s set. He was doing a meet and greet with fans and recording some promo videos for BamaJam. He seems like a really cool guy! His set was immediately after Blackberry Smoke and he brought it! He was rocking out to his hits including “Boots On” and “Whistlin’ Dixie” and the crowd was enjoying every minute of it. Jamey Johnson followed Randy and before his set, he was briefly in the press tent. I was too starstruck to do anything but stare. I admire and respect him and his talent so much and it was cool to see him in a setting other than on stage. He received his bottle of BamaJam labeled Jim Beam and took a few pictures and he was gone almost as soon as he had gotten there. His set included lots of songs from his new album including his current single “Macon.” He also played a phenomenal cover of Alabama’s “Lady Down on Love.” As he neared the end of the show he played his signature song “In Color” to which the whole crowd of easily 50,000 was singing along. He closed with the George Strait hit “Give It Away,” which Jamey penned. I had planned on leaving once Jamey’s set was over because I hadn’t booked a hotel for Friday night. But, once I got to the festival and was enjoying the music and enjoying hanging out with my new buddies in the media area, I decided to stay longer. Also, we found out that we would have the opportunity to go back to Hank, Jr’s bus to photograph him during his meet and greet. We got to do this during Travis Tritt’s set. There was a frenzy of activity at Hank’s meet and greet as he was doing an interview with Fox News and then meeting upwards of 50 people in a very short time frame. It was hard to get a clear shot of Hank because there were several law enforcement officers between us and him, but it was so cool to even have the opportunity to experience that moment. Hank is certainly a legend and has shaped so much of what country music is today. Soon after Hank’s meet and greet, it was time for us to head to the photo pit for Hank’s set. He certainly knows how to entertain a crowd. From the opening notes, the crowd was going crazy. After baking in the hot summer sun all day, fans were rewarded with a stellar Hank, Jr performance which featured a vast majority of his hits.

Randy Houser
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Jamey Johnson
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Hank Williams, Jr & Courtney Friel from Fox News
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Hank Williams, Jr
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When we left Hank’s photo pit, I decided to head over to the B Stage to check things out, as I had not been over there yet. Train was closing the evening on that stage. I was able to get a few shots of them. Once we had to leave that photo pit, I said goodbye to my new buddies and made my way back to my car thoroughly exhausted, but extremely happy. I had such a fun time at the whole event! The festival featured some of country and rock/alternative music’s biggest names and also some of its rising stars. I highly recommend this festival to anyone looking for a lot of bang for their buck, as well as for people looking to hear lots of great live music! As I said at the beginning of this post, this was probably my favorite thing that I’ve done this summer.

Pat Monahan – Train
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I took a ton of pictures the second day. See them all here.

Be sure to check out BamaJam’s website for all of the information about the 2011 festival, which is scheduled for June 2-4: http://www.bamajammusicfestival.com/. The lineup hasn’t been announced yet, but you can be sure that it will again feature a great mix of the hottest artists in country and alternative music and the most promising newcomers. And, if you order your tickets by Saturday, July 31, you can buy the three day general admission ticket for only $99! If you’d rather have a reserved seat, you can choose your spot in the Peanut Gallery seating for $365 for all three days. Buy your tickets here: BamJam tickets!

A huge thanks to Brittni and everyone at Webster for making things run so smoothly for the media. It was a great event and I am already looking forward to next year’s festival.

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Responses

  1. Outstanding review of BamaJam. Aside from CMA Music Fest, this has become the nation’s premiere country music festival. It’s also pretty cool that Enterprise, Alabama, of all places is where it’s located (I went to college at nearby Troy University). I couldn’t get down there this year, but I would have liked to have seen Zac Brown; I’ve had several people tell me that this was the best performance of the entire festival.

    • Thanks, Ward! Everyone who saw ZBB was raving about the band’s performance. I hate that I couldn’t be in two places at once. 🙂

      It’s really cool that BamaJam has risen to prominence in only three years. I agree that it’s one of the premiere country music festivals! I can’t wait to see the lineup for 2011!

  2. To be honest, you probably get more of your money’s worth at BamaJam because the artists get to play longer setlists, as opposed to the “five and done” rule at LP Field. 🙂

  3. […] had previously met Blackberry Smoke at BamaJam where I had the pleasure of interviewing them. They’ve built a huge following in the Midwest […]


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