Mainstreams: Jamfest hits new high notes

by Jim Boyle

Editor

The fourth installment of the Otsego JamFest, a two-day concert event hosted by Rockwoods Bar and Grill has been deemed a success on many fronts.

Weather and attendance were two highs this year, according to Rockwoods co-owner Dave Peterson.

The Rev. Willy B and Duzzty of ZZ3, a ZZ Top tribute band, played Friday night. They brought the goods with convincing costumes, real beards and their best effort for a spot-on stage show. Their performance gave way to two more tribute bands that brought back memories of The Rolling Stones and the Eagles. The headliner was Creedence Clearwater Revisited, an offshoot of Creedence Clearwater Revival with two of the band’s original members.

The Rev. Willy B and Duzzty of ZZ3, a ZZ Top tribute band, played Friday night. They brought the goods with convincing costumes, real beards and their best effort for a spot-on stage show. Their performance gave way to two more tribute bands that brought back memories of The Rolling Stones and the Eagles. The headliner was Creedence Clearwater Revisited, an offshoot of Creedence Clearwater Revival with two of the band’s original members.

“We experienced our first sellout (at the country portion of the event on Aug. 10), and we finally had two rain-free nights,” Peterson said.

Bassist Stu Cook and drummer Doug Clifford of Creedence Clearwater Revisited headlined the opening night on Aug. 9. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame rhythm section from the legendary group Creedence Clearwater Revival provided touchstones from CCR’s glory days.

Attendance was down about 1,000 people on opening night, but the concert still had plenty of energy.

The Fabulous Armadillos warmed things up for Creedence Clearwater Revisited with their Eagles tribute music, including a powerful rendition of Hotel California.

“I think their guy did it better than Don Henley did it,” Peterson said.

The Saturday, Aug. 10 country night brought in 2,000 people more than last year, allowing overall attendance at JamFest 2013 to rise over last year’s event.

“We had about 8,000 people altogether for the two nights, up from about 7,000 the year before,” Peterson said. “This year’s show did not disappoint. It was a huge thrill to see that many people having a great time.”

Peterson said improvements included a larger jumbo screen with higher resolution, a smoother flow of people into the event and a more organized event so people could be more comfortable.

Chris LeGrand as Mick Jagger brought a slice of the Rolling Stones to life for the JamFest crowd.

Chris LeGrand as Mick Jagger brought a slice of the Rolling Stones to life for the JamFest crowd.

The hope for next year would be to sell out both nights and break even.  Peterson said he will first have to convince Donna Peterson, his wife and business partner, that a fifth JamFest makes fiscal sense to have a fifth JamFest.

The one milestone keeping JamFest from becoming an overwhelming success has been its overall profitability. The event has yet to turn a profit since its inception, Peterson said.

“I think next year with a few tweaks we could break even,” he said, noting he views it as a tough but worthwhile sell.

“This has become more of a community event,” he said, smiling with an air of pride. “I’d say 90 percent of the tickets were purchased at Rockwoods or online from people within living within a 15 to 20 mile radius.”

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