BY Susan K. Lamb, Special to the News
It's time for the 11th Suwannee River Jam at The Spirit of the Suwannee Music Park after a long wait. And you won't be disappointed in the platinum line-up of Country Music stars who will be performing at the Suwannee River Jam to be held April 22-25.
Sawyer Brown, Pam Tillis, John Anderson, Don Williams, Highway 101, Tracy Lawrence, Lee Roy Parnell, David Lee Murphy, Emerson Drive and more national acts to be announced will be performing on the main stage for the four-day extravaganza.
Here's how the lineup will go:
Friday, April 23 - Highway 101 and the dynamic Country star, Tracy Lawrence kick off the big weekend
Saturday, April 24 - Headliners will include Andy Griggs, John Anderson, Pam Tillis and Sawyer Brown
Sunday, April 25 - David Lee Murphy, Lee Roy Parnell, Emerson Drive and Don Williams
The Jam will actually get underway Thursday, April 22 with a regional battle of the bands contest. Whoever wins will open on Saturday on the main stage for one of the acts.
Other acts will be announced in the coming weeks.
The Music Park management is producing the show this year after 10 years of bringing in outside promoters. Park President James Cornett said he is extending the concert by the resulting savings for the Country fans. For a $75 ticket, Country fans receive four nights of top ranked country music stars and four nights of free tent camping plus RV upgrades are available. VIP Gold Tickets are $250 and Silver Tickets are $150 plus tax per person. Handling charges may be applicable. The ticket sales open today, Feb. 18, at the Spirit of the Suwannee Music Park office on US 129, four miles north of Live Oak. Park General Manager Darrell Brooks said interest in the Suwannee River Jam has remained intense even after a year's absence. When his staff tried to return reservation checks or deposits for last year's jam, after it was announced the event was not being held for lack of a promoter, more than 600 people told them to keep the checks or deposits as reservations for this year's jam.
"We promote a family atmosphere with the camping and the music," Cornett said. "We also offer canoeing, horseback riding, putt-putt golf, play grounds, a pool and hiking trails, as well as a sandy beach on the Suwannee River. Children ages 5 to 12 will be admitted for the four days for $20 per child plus tax with age 5 and under admitted free. "People come for the atmosphere as much as the music. They camp next to each other, their kids play together, they pick guitars and sing together and at the end of the show, they make reservations for the next year."
The Jam will also include a Country Music talent contest. Entrants can use a house backup band, use their own band or use tape tracks. Entrants will be charged $100 for each person and will receive the four-day ticket and camping privileges. Ronnie Baldwin, Live Oak musician, is the contest coordinator. Judging will be by a panel to be named and will be in the park's Music Hall. The winner will open for a national act on the Main Stage on Saturday.
Tickets, RV upgrade rates and show schedule information can also be obtained by calling the Spirit of the Suwannee Music Park at 1/800/224-5656 or 1/386/364-1683.
Editor's note: Bob Phelps, the Music Park and others contributed information for this article.