It's hot. Damn hot. Thankfully there's a nice, cool breeze flowing through the rows of campers and RV's that make up the series of makeshift streets on the campgrounds for the third annual BamaJam Music Festival in Enterprise, Alabama. As Debbie Ingram, writer for the Dothan Eagle, describes it, BamaJam is "known both locally and regionally as a redneck party complete with girls in short shorts and cowboy boots and a few thousand good 'ol boys with rebel flags proudly displayed on their pickup trucks." As I sit here in the shade of my camp site, people watching as I try to stay cool, Ms. Ingram's description is pretty accurate.
To simply call BamaJam, however, a redneckpalooza is not doing the event justice. I am very much impressed with the level of organization that has gone into planning and executing the event. I will get a much better feel for it once Lee and I venture to the actual site where the concerts will be held, but so far it's been a fantastic experience. Yes, there are many rebel flags flying – along with 'Bama, Auburn and the obligatory collection of driver specific NASCAR banners – but this is not an event full of toothless, backwoods music fans. BamaJam organizers have sold tickets in 43 states and 4 foreign countries. That's a very broad and eclectic mix of audience members.
The appeal, in my opinion, is in the lineup of musical performers. There is no question the reason I am here is to catch the Zac Brown Band. The Grammy Award winners are one of several big-name artists scheduled to perform over the next three days. With other artists including Kenny Chesney, Hank Williams Jr., Dierks Bently, Gretchen Wilson, and Miranda Lambert (hubba hubba), BamaJam rivals any other music festival in terms of value and experience.
I will have to dedicate more time in my next entry to our camping experience. This is my first time staying in a camper/trailer, living off a generator and dealing with the specifics and logistics of 'camping' (i.e. bathroom), but since we're sharing the experience with good friends, it has all had a sense of educational charm.
With that, Lee and I are off to peruse the concert area and find our spot first show (LoCash Cowboys). I can say this: BamaJam's schedule is very reminiscent of The Rock Boat. Shows do not start until later in the afternoon and last well into the morning hours. With the beer free-flowing and the crowd a'rocking, we are sure to feel right at home. Rock on!