Country Jamin’ looks to 2007 despite small turnout

CLEARFIELD – A small crowd turned out for the first year of Country Jamin’ the Valley, but one of the event’s organizers said that won’t stop the artists from returning next year.

“We didn’t have the attendance we expected,” said John Guthridge, who noted that less than 1,000 people turned out for the two-day event held Saturday and Sunday. Those numbers, he said, didn’t matter to the dozens of artists who came from around the United States and from Canada to play at the Clearfield Driving Park for the event, which was meant to benefit the Navasky Foundation for Cancer Research and Queens for Kids – Children’s Miracle Network.

“Every act that came out thought this was great,” Guthridge said, adding that at least one performer told the crowd that he would do it all again despite the small turnout. “The Elvis tribute act came from Charlotte (North Carolina) on Saturday to perform here Sunday,” Guthridge said. “He told the crowd, which was sparse, that he’d drive across the United States to do it all again.”

Guthridge said nine artists drove from Canada, some spending 27 hours in a vehicle at their own expense. “They came all the way down here to raise money for cancer research in our area,” Guthridge said.

Although the event was meant to benefit two area charities, ticket sales did not allow for a profit that could be turned over to the charities. He said the promoters will likely just break even or will take a loss to pay for services such as sound, lights and stage.

Guthridge said the event will be back in 2007, but probably not on the same weekend. The date and time, he said, are still being worked out, but he is considering the third weekend in June. “It will be in Clearfield,” Guthridge said, most likely in the Clearfield Driving Park. Next year’s Country Jamin’ the Valley will remain at two days because of the number of artists who have expressed an interest in performing.

“This year we went from noon to about 11:30 on Saturday and from noon until 10:30 on Sunday,” Guthridge said.

Each artist took to the stage for their own performance, and all of them took time to meet fans and sign autographs. “Kevin Sharp signed autographs for probably an hour and 40 minutes for anyone who wanted them,” Guthridge said.

Sharp is a country recording artist and also a cancer survivor. He is probably best known for recording “Nobody Knows.” In addition to touring the country performing at concerts, Sharp shares his talent at many Relay For Life fund-raisers and other cancer events.

Other changes are in store for next year’s jam, according to Guthridge. He said most of the sales came from purchases at the gate this year because there was no incentive to pre-buy tickets. He said he is considering some type of bonus or charging $10 for both days. This weekend’s concert cost $10 for one day or $15 for two days. Those under the age of 12 were admitted for free, and Guthridge said that fact made the event one for the whole family.

“We want to raise money to benefit the two charities – Queens for Kids and the Navasky Foundation for Cancer Research,” Guthridge said.

A benefit to this year’s show was that people who couldn’t be in Clearfield could see the concert no matter where they were in the world. The Web site broadcast the show. “Always Country did interviews with every artist, too,” Guthridge said.

The numbers are still being tallied from this year’s event, but Guthridge said he is looking ahead instead of looking back.

“We hope you make plans for next year,” he said. “It gives the community something to do and raises money for cancer research in our local area.”

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