Oregon Music News: Oregon’s all-genre music magazine since 2009

The second 'annual' Jackalope Jamboree will take place this weekend, June 25-26, in Pendleton.
The second "annual" Jackalope Jamboree will take place this weekend, June 25-26, in Pendleton.

Jackalope Jamboree draws Alt-Country fans for two-day festival in Pendleton

By Phil Favorite// Shooter Jennings, Shane Smith & The Saints headline expanded lineups for outdoor festival at historic Happy Canyon Arena, June 25-26; founders discuss planning and presenting the festival after a year away due to the COVID- pandemic.

A year ago, when summer festivals were canceling en masse due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the organizers of the second-annual Jackalope Jamboree — a two-day music festival in Pendleton featuring several local and touring alternative country bands — held on as long as they could in the face of increasing gathering restrictions. Alas, when pulling the plug became inevitable, organizers turned their attention to 2021 in hopes of a revival.

Now their dedication has been rewarded. The stage is set for this weekend — Friday, June 25 and Saturday, June 26 — as Jamboree goers descend on Pendleton for this year's event.

We chatted with festival co-founders Chad Colwell and Rian Beach about the challenges of keeping the faith, and what's in store for this year's Jamboree.

Oregon Music News: We kept a close eye on the festival planning last year and noticed you held on to just about the last minute before canceling. This year, several festivals pulled the plug right away while again your team held tight. Is it safe to say the festival is officially happening this year, and if so, is there a sense of satisfaction that has come with "keeping the faith?"
Jackalope Jamboree: Yes, the event is a full go this year! So, pack your bags and come out to Pendleton!
OMN: How are ticket sales progressing, and has capacity been compromised by local restrictions with regard to COVID-19?
JJ: Ticket sales are going really well! We have been seeing a lot of tickets sold over the last two weeks and we expect that to continue up to the show. Capacity is currently limited to 15 percent due to local and state guidelines. However, with the recent news of restrictions being lifted when the state hits 70 percent vaccination rate, we are hopeful that will occur before June 25th.
OMN: This festival features an interesting mix of local artists, Oregon bands and national acts. In your words, what makes Jackalope unlike other festivals in the region? We'll call it "West of the Rockies."
JJ: We set out from Day 1 to create a lineup that was different from everything else in Oregon. We love local music and want to showcase the talented artists from the area. But we also want to book bands from outside the area that are known for putting on an amazing live show! We are big fans of Americana, Red Dirt, Alt-Country . . .  whatever you want to label it . . . so when we can have a Shooter Jennings or Shane Smith & the Saints come out to Eastern Oregon and get everyone dancing and singing their songs, that's the type of festival we are looking to put on.
OMN: Tell us what excites you about the lineup, especially the Friday and Saturday headliners.
JJ:  Shane Smith & the Saints are a fantastic band out of Austin, Texas . . . Five-piece, vocal harmonies, amazing fiddle player, super high energy. They were the first band we booked in 2019, our first year, and we knew we wanted them back this year as we expanded to a two-day format. If you come out Friday night, you will see why and you won't be disappointed. They are amazing live! And Shooter Jennings is just fun, loud, in your face, country rock and roll. The man is a gifted artist and a Grammy-award-winning producer. He knows how to give the crowd a great show. Last winter, before COVID hit, he toured the PNW and sold out almost every stop. 
But outside of the headliners, you got some great musicians across both stages. Sierra Ferrell has one of the most beautiful voices in music right now. She will be a must see. Jenny Don't & the Spurs have a new album out, and so does Jesse Daniel, Tylor & The Train Robbers and Sierra. The Lonesome Billies are a super fun Portland band. They played our first year and we have them headlining the second stage this year.
OMN: What things should festival goers keep in mind as they plan and head to Pendleton for the weekend?
JJ: Jackalope Jamboree is an all-ages event. We have plenty of room for social distancing and will be following all state and local health guidelines. We will have local food vendors on site and plenty of Fort George beer to wet your whistle. But the festival is just part of the experience. Historic Pendleton has plenty of attractions and places to visit to keep you busy all weekend long.
For tickets, parking information, schedules and and more, visit the festival website at www.jackalopejamboree.com.

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