Concert News

Jamboree in the Hills 2016 – Day Two


I’ve been to a handful of country music festivals over the years. Country Concert in Fort Loramie, WCOL Country Jam in Thornville and even the massive Stagecoach Music Festival in Southern California. When I had realized that the one fest that had been on my list for years, Jamboree In The Hills of Morristown, OH would be celebrating their 40th year, I was determined to make the trip.

While I couldn’t make it to “Jambo,” (as the festival’s devoted fan base lovingly refer to it) for the very first day, the second through fourth days were incredible! We didn’t camp, which is a whole other world when it comes to music festivals such as this, but perhaps next year we’ll brave those waters! The following will detail my experience over the course of my three day adventure at Jamboree In The Hills ’16!

Jambo Day Two:

Upon arrival to Morristown, OH for Jamboree In The Hills, I discovered that the local country music station was airing the entire festival live throughout the weekend. Not only that, but the local news channels would also be showing the fest on TV. That’s how big this thing is! *(Side Note: If you are a local and happen to have recorded the weekend, I’d love a copy!) I’m not sure if that’s a common thing around the country, but I’ve yet to experience that.

Pulling into the festival grounds, up-and-coming country artist, Seth Ennis was on stage. He had the heavy task of warming up the crowd who had just taken in an evening prior with the rowdy likes of Brantley Gilbert, Trace Adkins and Colt Ford. The day also started with a slight shower, but as the crowd started to roll in for the day, it was clear that the weather would play no role in their fun.

After receiving our wristbands and photo passes for the weekend, we were given a quick tour of the media area and settled in. Friday’s line-up was made up of traditional country sounds in Alan Jackson and William Michael Morgan, modern country in Billy Currington and… Kid Rock.


William Michael Morgan was next to perform. While the crowd had already grown quite large at this point, I truly wish that the place could’ve been completely packed for Morgan’s set. What this guy is doing in country music today is fantastic and he deserves to be heard by as many folks as possible. In fact, visit his official website (After reading my journal, of course), find his nearest scheduled show and GO. Morgan’s set at Jamboree was approximately 20 minutes, but you need to see his full show to really take it all in. William Michael Morgan’s current radio single, “I Met A Girl” went over quite well with the Jambo crowd and I believe that what should be the next hit, “Vinyl” will be even more successful!


Following William Michael Morgan, Billy Currington took to the stage. The lawn was really starting to pack in at this point and after that brief rain, the humidity was coming in with them! Currington kept the party rolling with his country radio hits, “Don’t It,” “Pretty Good At Drinkin’ Beer” and “That’s How Country Boys Roll.” The Jambo fans were really loving Currington’s set, singing along with just about every single song, including the Currington classic, “People Are Crazy.” I hadn’t seen Billy Currington perform since his appearance at the Lorain County Fair back in 2011. Keep your fingers crossed that he returns to Ohio in the near future!

Admittedly, due to his being my all-time favorite artist over all genres, I was absolutely thrilled to have the opportunity to photograph Alan Jackson’s set at Jamboree In The Hills. It seems that his Ohio appearances are an incredibly rare occurrence, so you can imagine how thrilled I was to be approximately 10-15ft away from this country music legend. The last time that we had Jackson in the North Eastern Ohio area was back in 2010 at Crushers’ Stadium in Avon. Jackson kicked off his 90 minute set with his 1994 #1 hit, “Gone Country.” Alan said that when he found out that Jamboree In The Hills would be celebrating its 40th year, that he had to join in on the fun. Jackson had previously performed at the festival in 1992, 1999, 2001 and 2009.


Alan played as many of his classic hits that would fit the time slot, from 1991 staple, “Don’t Rock The Jukebox” all the way up to a track from his most recent album, “You Never Know.” After performing “Chattahoochee” and “Where I Come From,” he left the stage. I was incredibly satisfied with Alan Jackson’s set, but when he returned to stage for an encore, I was very surprised! Jackson closed out his portion of Jambo with “Mercury Blues” and “Dixie Highway.” (Visit for my detailed review of Alan Jackson’s Jamboree In The Hills set).

As stated above, I had attended the Stagecoach Music Festival in 2009. Kid Rock was one of the headliners announced for that festival and I clearly recall country music fans to be quite upset that he would be taking a top spot at the show. Though I had been a fan of Kid Rock in high school, I admittedly felt the same way. As it turned out, he won over the massive Southern California crowd with his diverse set. Flash forward 7 years and Kid Rock is headlining Friday night at Jamboree In The Hills. Talk about a contrast between styles when following the traditionalist of traditionalists in Alan Jackson!

Kid Rock took the stage at approximately 9:30 P.M. The crowd had been in the humid weather all day, enjoying their country music and of course, mass amounts of beer. Kid Rock performed “First Kiss” from his latest album to begin his set, followed by “Celebrate.” Kid Rock then addressed the elephant in the room stating that he was just as confused as everyone else as to why he was there. He claimed that he didn’t want to scare anyone and that he would ease his way into his heavier and less “country friendly” material… Launching into “You Never Met A Mother ****** Quite Like Me!” in true Kid Rock fashion! From there on out, Kid Rock lived up to his name and blew the figurative roof off of the Jamboree In The Hills venue! From rap-metal classics like “Cowboy” and “American Bad Ass” to his more sensitive side in “Picture” and “Only God Knows Why” proved that while he may not quite “fit” the country music genre, he can most certainly entertain a crowd. Kid Rock closed out his Jambo set with his late 90’s single and crowd favorite “Bawitaba.”

After a wide range of music from traditional country to the rambunctious rap metal of Kid Rock, Jamboree In The Hills: Day 2 closed out with an incredible fireworks display. During the closing festivities, music and video footage covering the artists who performed at the previous 39 events were displayed on the monitors above the stage. It’s truly incredible how much talent has crossed that stage since 1977. While heading to the car, I couldn’t believe that there was two full days still to come!

Stayed tuned for Part 2 of my Jamboree In The Hills journal, coming soon!

By Arthur Born