Chalk it up to a win for the little guy.
In a shocking development, Live Nation—the biggest concert promoter in the United States—caved to public pressure after making massive changes to the 41-year-old Jamboree in the Hills event in Ohio, a.k.a. “The Super Bowl of Country Music,” and is re-implementing the original name, logo, traditions, cooler/food/drink policy, the fourth day, all of it, in the face of an incredible backlash by the public.
After Live Nation initially changed the name of the event to “Jambo Country,” changed the name of a morning ritual from the “Redneck Run” to the “Morning Run,” and told attendees that coolers, food, and drink would not be allowed on the festival grounds, Live Nation reversed all of those decisions Friday (12-9) morning after nearly 10,000 people had joined a boycott against the changes, thousands more dogged the event’s Facebook page and other social properties with complaints about the new rules, and even a local commissioner had lodged a public protest.
“Same as it’s been for 40 years, we’re embracing that tradition. Bring your cooler in, 4-day event, July 13th through the 15th and the name is back,” said General Manager Kelly Tucker-Jones Friday to WTOV. “Jambo fans are unique. I’ve always said that they are the best part of our event and we heard them. They were loud. They were vocal. They didn’t want the change. They love the tradition of the event. And the powers that be within Live Nation said we hear you and we want you to come to this festival so we’re going to give it all right back to you.”
The reason given by Live Nation for some of the changes, especially the cooler policy was for “safety,” and Kelly Tucker-Jones says other provisions will be implemented for the safety concerns, without eating into the traditions. “We want to keep those fans safe, so we’re going to enhance our security measures there in the camp ground: underage drinking. We’re going to be good, responsible people, and we want all of our fans to come and be safe so they may just expect a little bit more thorough search going thought the gates but still the same old Jamboree it’s been.”
And according to Live Nation, ticket prices will actually go down slightly this year, even though they have added new amenities to the grounds this year, including showers and a parking lot after party.
Many Jamboree in the Hills attendees had made the event an annual tradition, and stories flooded in from angry fans in the face of the new rules. “With the changes that have been put forth by Live Nation for what was a 40 year old tradition of friends & families coming together for a 4 day fun event, Jamboree in the Hills is dead and will only live in our hearts and memories but no longer will be memories in the making,” Marian Zipay said earlier in the week.
Now, the resolve and organization of Jamboree in the Hills attendees has at least saved one country music institution from restrictive corporate control, and proves that with vocal opposition, even a huge company like Live Nation can be forced to pay attention.