Next September, banjos, guitars and fiddles will be heard all over Piketon, as many big names take the stage at the Pike County Fairgrounds for the first, of what will hopefully be annual, SamJam Bluegrass Festival.
The event has many people backing it, including the Pike County Chamber of Commerce, Southern Ohio Multimedia, SamJam Productions, the Pike County Fair Board, and the Pike County Convention and Visitors Bureau.
The festival is being scheduled for September 2-4 and the current lineup includes Shenandoah, Balsam Range, the Steeldrivers, the Lonesome River Band, IIIrd Tyme Out, Doyle Lawson and Quicksilver, Blue Highway, the Grascals, Sideline, Flatt Lonesome, Adkins and Loudermilk, Nightflyer, Wildfire, Blue Mafia, and Turning Ground, among others.
Shenandoah will headline the event. The group is a Grammy Award winning band that has five number one singles to its credit and has also been recognized as the Country Music Association’s Vocal Music Group of the Year.
Some of their iconic sounds include “Church on Cumberland Road,” “Next to you, next to me,” “Two Dozen Roses,” “I Want to be Loved Like That,” and more.
Shenandoah will take the stage September 4, with the original members of the band.
According to Rick Greene, Waverly resident and owner of Southern Ohio Multimedia, planning the festival was extensive and took nearly two years.
“One of the best things we do in southern Ohio is tourism. This event will bring people from throughout the Ohio Valley and beyond, and will be a positive benefit to the local economy,” Greene said. “Festivals like this one grow quickly.”
Greene said that he believes the festival will have a huge impact on Piketon and will bring in many dollars through various avenues.
“This event will have a multi-million dollar economic impact in southern Ohio” Greene said. “Our hotels, restaurants, gas stations, grocery stores, vendors, and businesses of all sorts will be the beneficiaries of this event.”
SamJam Productions had been looking at possibly hosting the event and Greene said that he really hoped to sell Piketon as the location.
Greene explained that he knew Piketon would be an ideal host for a bluegrass festival, based on geography and the popularity of bluegrass music in the region. He hoped to get the festival within Pike County limits so the area could economically benefit from it, as well enjoy the entertainment.
He figured it would do well in Piketon, not only because the fairgrounds is right off State Route 23, with a straight shot to Columbus and many major Kentucky locations, but because of the infrastructure is also in place.
Karr, of SamJam Productions, toured the fairgrounds and Pike County in the spring. He said the fairgrounds’ acreage, facilities, 300 electric and water hookups for campers, and other attributes are ideal for a bluegrass festival.
“I’m convinced we have everything we need in Pike County to make this one of the finest bluegrass festivals in the nation. Bluegrass fans will know what they will be getting, but for newcomers to bluegrass, or those who haven’t really listened to it much, this event will change the way they think about this genre of music,” Karr said.
Admission will be $100. To order tickets, to check out the festival’s complete lineup, and to learn other details, visit their website at www.samjambluegrass.com.
To reserve water and electric hookups for recreational vehicles or campers during the festival, contact Mary Conley at (740) 708-0303. For additional information, including how to become an event sponsor, contact Rick Greene at (740) 547-9059 or Sam Karr at (812) 699-0962.
Reach Joseph Pratt at 740-353-3101, ext. 1932, or by Twitter @JosephPratt03.