During a meeting with Michael Johnathon (of Lexington’s Woodsongs) in 2005, he suggested that Lexington had “an unrecognized art form in bluegrass music.” From his suggestion, The Southland Association Board of Directors decided to provide free outdoor bluegrass concerts for the community, and things fell quickly into place. The concerts were designed to feature top local and regional bands, and be free to the public. The Southland Association became an equal partner with LFUCG Parks and Recreation for the purpose of presenting the Jamboree. The first concert was on May 9, 2006.
Funds for paying the Jamboree expenses are mostly provided by sponsors of each event. The city has also been providing part of the funding. Collins Bowling gets a huge amount of credit for their willingness to let the Jamboree be held on their property without charge through the 2014 season. All surrounding merchants also allow parking in their parking lots for fans of the Jamboree.
Starting with the 2015 season we start a new chapter in the Southland Jamboree’s history. Due to construction on the Jamboree grassy field on the Collins property, the Jamboree moves to the MoonDance Amphitheater in Beaumont Center. With this, we have moved to Monday nights for amphitheater availability. At MoonDance, we have excellent permanent stage and sound facilities, increased audience space and parking, while still not far away from our original space on Southland Drive.
2018 Season – Cancellation and GoFundMe Campaign
From Billy Sherrow (as of 5/8/18):
I regret to announce that the Southland Jamboree will be unable to continue for the 2018 season due to lack of funding. As most of you are aware, the Jamboree, has been sponsored by the Southland Association and has always been free to the public. I want to thank Southland Association and all the people who have made it possible for the last twelve years. All the LFUCG officials have been more than supportive. All the council members who have served over the last twelve years, the major’s office and Parks and Recreation. A special thanks to Phil Wyant who brought the idea to the Southland Board in the first place. Without him, it never would have happened. A special thanks also to Beth Tibbitts, who may be bluegrass music’s most enthusiastic supporter. She has kept people up to date on the Southland Jamboree website and through social media and a huge help in other areas.
A special thanks to Collins Bowling for allowing us the use of their facilities for nine years. There was something about that place that just worked. Thanks also to Celeste Lewis with Parks and Rec for allowing us to use the facility at Beaumont for the last three years. Special thanks also to some of the faithful sponsors and particularly Bank of the Bluegrass & Trust Company, who was our season sponsor for several years. Some of our other loyal sponsors were Donut Days, Good Food Coop, Old Kentucky Chocolates, State Farm Insurance, Forcht Bank with their free ice cream, and The Ketch.
I want to especially thank all the performers who were always willing to play at the Southland Jamboree. We were fortunate to have some of the best local, regional and national talent to play at the Jamboree even though our budget was always limited. The local bands particularly were always willing to play for whatever we could afford and it was all of the great local and regional talent that made the Jamboree a success.
Finally, I want to thank the fans. We have a wonderful bluegrass fan base in Central Kentucky and it was all of you that made the Jamboree a huge success. Thank you for your faithful support over the last twelve years. It has been a lot of fun for all of us.
5/15/18: GoFundme Campaign started by Beth R. Tibbitts
Beth Tibbitts met with LexArts and started the GoFundMe campaign at https://www.gofundme.com/c5f72-save-the-southland-jamboree
Description is as follows:
The Southland Jamboree in Lexington, Kentucky is a free bluegrass music concert series that has occurred weekly during the summers since about 2006, with Phil Wyant and Billy Sherrow assuming the reins. First performing in the grassy lot behind Collins Bowling Center, the Southland Jamboree moved to Lexington’s Moondance Amphitheater in 2016 when the Collins location was no longer available due to building on the site.
Originally sponsored by the Southland Association and operated through generous sponsorships from Southland merchants, financial support has diminished since the move to Moondance. Although Organizer and emcee Billy Sherrow announced the cancellation of the 2018 season due to lack of a larger sponsor, the response from the public via Facebook, etc. has been extremely supportive with offers of funds and hands-on assistance. One band even offered to play for free if the Jamboree continued (let’s hope we don’t have to take them up on that).
Beth Tibbitts has volunteered and assisted Phil and Billy since about 2008 (including the website southlandjamboree.org and social media). With some fund-raising assistance from LexArts in Lexington (funds are deposited to, and administered by, LexArts), I would like you to “put your money where your mouth is.”
If we can raise about $8000 I believe we can rescue part of this summer’s concert season, perhaps beginning in July. More, and we can assure continuation for the future. A full season costs us about $10-12000. I will also be needing hands-on help if this is to continue, and information about larger corporate sponsors is very welcome and would ease our worries for the future.
Let’s save the music, Lexington!
I look forward to jamming with you after the show, too!
5/25/18: 2018 Season confirmed
With over $6000 of the $8000 raised the season was planned to run for ten Monday nights, July 2 to September 3 (Labor Day).
We have established a new separate non-profit corporation, The Southland Jamboree Association, and we are moving our concerts to Thursday evenings, still at the Moondance Amphitheater in Beaumont Centre. We appreciate all the support of our original sponsoring organization, the Southland Association, but it’s time we spread our wings… Stay tuned for more info! First concert is Thursday May 30 at 7:00 pm.
Due to the Coronavirus pandemic, the Southland Jamboree, postponed several times, was officially cancelled for the season. Stay safe and we hope to see you in 2021!
|Sponsored by Lexington Parks and Recreation|