Blame My Roots fills "Jambo" void
Updated: Jan 19
For nearly five decades, the third weekend of July in Belmont County, Ohio was known for one thing: Jamboree In The Hills. At its peak, the four-day, outdoor country music festival brought thousands of visitors to the area and featured legendary country music stars. The traditions of "Jambo", as it is affectionately called by fans, included crazy outfits and costumes, custom made coolers, and the "Redneck Run" in which concert goers (with tarps in hand) raced each other for the best spots.
In 2018, it was announced that JITH would be on "hiatus" for a year. This news was met with much sadness and disappointment.
Just a few months later, a Belmont County family associated with Valleyview Campgrounds, located across the road from the Jamboree site in Belmont, Ohio , announced that they would try to continue this treasured tradition with a three-day country concert that they dubbed, "Blame My Roots". BMRF would continue the tradition of country music and camping, and allow concert goers to BYOB. Valleyview already had a tradition of being "the party after the party" with a stage for performers, the annual Funnel Fest, and campground shenanigans such as the giant slip 'n slide.
After months of planning and promotion, Blame My Roots was held July 18-20 and featured country legends Trace Adkins and Joe Diffie; rising stars Whiskey Myers (a southern rock band that recently opened for the Rolling Stones) and Tyler Farr; seasoned performer Whey Jennings; and up and coming acts Lyndsay Ell, Ryan Hurd, Gabby Barrett, Dillon Carmichael, Kyle Daniel, and Walker Montgomery. Local and regional acts included the 11/70 band, Joe Zelek (who was a yearly performer at Valleyview), Frank Viera, The Stickers, Sydney Mack, Tim Ullom Band, and Old Buddy Jack. The performances alternated between two stages, and a third "buskers" stage located near the front gate, featured acoustic performances.
Festival organizer Christopher Dutton said the idea was that music could be constantly heard by concert goers the minute they stepped out of their vehicles.
Blame My Roots included music festival staples such as food vendors, festival and artist merchandise, beer and ice sales, and free water in the medical tent. The Belmont County Tourism Office provided free visitor guides, drink koozies, and beach balls.
Executive Director Barb Ballint greeted concert goers with an opening welcome on Friday and Saturday nights.
Positive feedback about the festival was received from those attending and those performing. Plans are already in the works for next year's Blame My Roots, with an initial announcement about performers expected to be made in November of this year.
For more information, visit www.blamemyrootsfestival.com. Photos and videos from BMRF can also be found on Belmont County Tourism's social media platforms: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Youtube, and LinkedIn. Watch a highlight video here: https://youtu.be/EiBLhN9J_to
Below are just a few of our favorite pictures from the inaugural Blame My Roots Fest!