BY MARIAN TUIN
In its two and a half decades, Country Jam has built much more than a festival. This four day country music-camping-pool party-extravaganza is considered one of the biggest parties in Colorado. Celebrating their 26th year in 2017, they hosted nearly 92,000 attendees who welcomed to the stage some of the most iconic country artists like Kenny Chesney, Jason Aldean and Thomas Rhett.
We had boots on the ground to give you an exclusive glimpse into this quintessential Colorado experience. One that has captured the essence of community that comes together to celebrate country music. Every year their community grows to include new attendees, but its core group thrives and continues to returns time and again, some of them for upwards of ten years. We met a few. They camped near us.
Country Jam is more easily described as an energy. It’s people who release the mundane restrictions of life and exchange them for a few days to dance, camp and party. For those who indulge, it awards freedom – of spirit, mind and body. It’s where the base instinct of humanity finds a moment to exhale and freely live life without schedules or limitations. For a few days, life is simpler and reminds those that experience it, it is a good way to live.
Country Jam is a place where megastars like Jason Aldean come to play and stay on stage well into the early morning hours saying, “I’m not going to do much talking. I figure you all came to listen to music and get drunk, so I’m going to play you some music.”
Its stage is a place where artists like Randy Houser expresses gratitude proudly to his talented band and loyal fans, acknowledging he wouldn’t be standing there without both. It’s a place where Frankie Ballard asks to borrow a hat from a fan in attendance to keep the setting sun out of his eyes as he performed, and is generously given one.
Country Jam is lighters to the sky, inspired by songs that promise a better day. It’s a place where a perfect stranger sings in unison with you because your bond is universal, it’s music. It’s hot, it’s dusty. If you camp, it is basic. Sometimes in between sets, you fall asleep. It’s okay. Many do. It’s essential when you are experiencing the unmatched energy Country Jam emits.
We learned that Country Jam is a festival that no review could encapsulate entirely. It is best experienced. And it’s certainly not too early to dust off your boots and brush up on your two step. Country Jam will be back for their 27th season in 2018 and has already announced Florida Georgia Line as the headliner of what promises to be another irresistibly danceable, star studded party.