Blame My Roots fest to fill country music void
MORRISTOWN — A new country music festival this summer aims to fill the void left by the Jamboree In The Hills’ hiatus.
During a press conference Thursday, organizers of the new Blame My Roots Fest said they planned to hold a three-day festival at Valley View Campgrounds in Morristown on July 18-20.
To date, musical acts booked for the show include Trace Adkins, Joe Diffie, Tyler Farr, Whiskey Myers, Gabby Barrett and Lindsay Ell. More acts still are being booked and will be announced at a later date.
The festival was founded by Chris Dutton and his sister Nina Dutton. The siblings will use their family’s campgrounds, which are located near the former Jamboree site.
Chris Dutton said the campground has 65 acres. About 9 acres will be used for two stages and viewing space around it. The remainder will be offered for camping. He estimated the venue could hold up to 8,000 people, though some fences may need to be moved outward to provide additional room.
“For the past four decades, my family’s campground has hosted tens of thousands of country music enthusiasts every third week in July,” he said. “The traditions of those fans have permeated these grounds, so it only made sense to keep the spirit of country music in Belmont County alive right here. We’re proud of the venue our family has built; it feels like a natural transition.”
Following the press conference, Nina Dutton said Blame My Roots would not come back if Jamboree decided to restart in the future, but the campgrounds would continue to operate to accommodate the concertgoers. She said they wanted country music fans to have somewhere to go this summer during the Jambo hiatus.
Chris Dutton said the festival’s name fits what and his family have been doing for years.
“I’ve been doing this for 28 years. I was 8 years old when I started doing this. We’re excited we get to continue on with that by bringing national acts booked for two stages. … Camping will be open for a full week.”
The siblings have worked at the campgrounds since they were kids. Their mother, Rita Dutton, owns the property with her siblings Tom Gentile, Bob Gentile and Anita Rice. Rita Dutton said when Jamboree first began they started out by offering parking only, then it grew into a place for camping.
Chris Dutton noted one of the festival’s biggest acts, Adkins, once visited the campgrounds years ago.
“He’s driven through here on a golf cart, and my mom wouldn’t let him in because we don’t allow golf carts in at Valley View Campgrounds. As soon as she saw was 6’6 with a big ponytail, we let him in,” he said. “So we’re welcoming back Trace Adkins officially this summer.”
Instead of trying to call and book the artists himself, Dutton used a booking agent to get in touch with the talent in Nashville, he said. It wasn’t until this week that the current deals all were finalized and that announcements could be made. For the last few months, the Duttons had to keep what they were doing a secret, which was difficult to do, they said.
For the festival, a production company is being used to bring in the two stages and handle the sound systems. Dutton said there likely will be more people hired to work the venue including for security purposes.
Live Nation, which owned and operated Jamboree In The Hills, announced in November 2018 that it planned to put the festival on hiatus for 2019 while it considered options for its Belmont County site. Live Nation officials could not be reached Thursday for comment about the future of their Belmont County site or the Jamboree festival.
Chris Dutton said the festival’s major sponsor is Bud Light. People will be permitted to bring their own beer to the festival. In addition to Valley View, more camping and parking will be available at the nearby West Pike Inn Campground and Motel. Tickets are available at www.blamemyrootsfestival.com.