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Jam in the Valley

The Band Perry
Jam in the Valley
A festival in a class of its own

Jam in The Valley music festival was created in 1994. Hard to believe it’s 2015 and JiTV is entering its 22nd year of bringing thousands of music fans together to enjoy three days of country music and camping starting Thursday July 2 through Saturday July 4th. Success stories in the music business are few and far between, but Western New York you have one of the biggest right in your back yard. We had a chance to catch up with Tim Attea, Jam’s Festival Organizer to get the low down on Jam in The Valley.

Blackjack Billy
Chris Young

“Nobody really knew what to expect all those years ago when my father (Sonny Attea) started the show,” said Attea. “Like many things in life, the show evolved from a series of circumstances—a free variety show fundraiser in 1994 that didn’t raise much money, led to a ticketed event to see Lee Greenwood in 1995. Then our less than exciting fireworks show evolved into one of the most exciting fireworks shows anywhere. Customers wanting to pitch a tent or haul in a camper led to a campground which now has roughly 1250 temporary sites, plus another 500 across the street at Byrncliff Conference and Resort Center. So, you see, natural evolution and necessity were the steps to real growth. Now, we are a three day festival with eight or nine national acts passing through each year, as well as local acts.”

Asked who he was most excited about seeing at the Jam this year, Attea didn’t hesitate.

“I’m a big fan of The Band Perry. I got to see them at the CMA fest and was very impressed with their energy. I think our fans will be really happy with the performance they’ll put on. Chris Young is very much a crowd pleaser and I’m excited to see the energy he puts out there before our Fireworks on Saturday night. But don’t be surprised if the acts that our fans at JiTV walk away talking the most about are Blackjack Billy and Dallas Smith. These guys will blow your socks off if you’re not ready for what they are bringing!”

“It really is a blessing to still be doing this after 22 years. We do have our challenges though. 20 plus years ago, country music wasn’t the hottest genre of music going and there were only a handful of festivals like Jamboree in the Hills and a few others. Now there are festivals everywhere, every weekend, all across the country. There are more concerts happening locally than ever before. Darien Lake has 10 country concerts this summer. Taste of Country has a great line up in downtown Buffalo, the Erie County Fair has two country shows. It becomes harder to fight for the entertainment dollar as fans can only spend so much on so many shows.

“Another thing is because of the multitude of shows, booking acts has become more of a challenge than ever, so we are really trying to focus on a plan for the next few years that might just help us attract bigger artists who can sell more tickets, while still trying to uphold the same fun-filled grassroots atmosphere that Jam in the Valley is known for.

Jam In the Valley is still grassroots but today it’s grassroots comfort. There’s reserved seating, a VIP section with a hospitality tent that includes dinner and drinks, and deluxe restroom trailers for those not fond of port-a-potties.

JiTV has hosted some of the biggest names in country music before they achieved stardom. Blake Shelton, a big star and a celebrity judge on The Voice, opened for Charlie Daniels Band about ten years ago. Platinum selling artist Dierks Bentley played JiTV a couple of times, and so on. But rubbing shoulders with stars isn’t what fuels Attea.

“I admit it’s pretty cool to see Blake on The Voice and remember a short conversation I had with him years ago,” said Attea “but the most important thing to us is that we entertain and serve our customers all weekend, from the campground registration to the concerts to our unique fireworks show.

We want people to feel that the Jam in the Valley experience is a tradition for them. It’s funny we have had so many love stories evolve from JiTV...the place they first met...the place they became engaged. Sometimes on stage! We have had weddings on our stage. People who have brought their children to the first show in 1994, and now their kids are married and bringing their own little ones. That is what gives me a sense of satisfaction.

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