A perfect storm of factors derailed the planned fundraising concert for the Hook & Ladder Fire Company and has fire company officials questioning the future of the event.
The inaugural run of the Country Music Jamboree failed to meet anyone’s expectations as the number of patrons from Friday night and Saturday totaled fewer than 50 paying customers.
Just a handful of patrons attended the concerts each night by member bands of the Northeast Association of Country Western Entertainers held at the fireman’s carnival field off of East Potter Avenue Friday and Saturday, August 19 and 20.
The jamboree, featuring multiple country western bands, was scheduled to continue into Sunday, but that plan was scrapped by organizers when anticipated crowds failed to materialize.
Bands who took the stage over the course of 16 hours included the Dry Town Drifters, Hand Picked Band, Thomas & Irwin, Honky Tonk Express, Black River Canyon Band, Bad Dog Spike, Don Viger and others. Organizer George Stoddard said all of the bands who played were unpaid volunteers who gave up their time to come and play in Granville.
Fire Company President Deb Whiteley said Saturday she was disappointed with the turnout, but could see a number of reasons the grounds might not be full of music fans. “Times are tough and people have to decide what they’re going to do with their money,” Whiteley said.
Eyeing back-to-school costs, the Washington County Fair starting in just a few days, family vacations and the short notice music fans around the region received about the jamboree Whiteley said she was sure the event needed adjustment if it was going to be attempted again.
Whiteley said she knew the Granville Village Board was enthusiastic in their support of the event when firefighters alerted the board to the event at the grounds at the Aug. 1 meeting.
Whiteley said she hoped the weekend’s outcome would no impact future endorsements of such efforts.
“We’re really disappointed it turned out this way, we even had tickets the radio stations gave away and those people didn’t show, we don’t know what happened,” Whiteley said.
Saturday evening as darkness approached, True Grit cranked out song after song of county music favorites as fewer than 30 spectators watched scattered around the carnival grounds.
Although a few campers dotted the grounds, most of those were associated with the musicians playing the jamboree.
Organizers said they had no idea what to expect in terms of turnout as the dates for the jamboree approached, but were surprised with how few people came out to the event.
Representatives from the fire company appeared on Glens Falls independent television station Channel 8 to promote the show, but for some reason patrons stayed away.
“I think they had a good idea here, but it all comes down to the timing and the timing is off – obviously,” Hooks’ Chief Dan McClenning said Saturday.
Like Whiteley, McClenning said he thought the choice of a date for the jamboree contributed to the lack of success for the first time effort.
Both said they thought moving the event deeper into the fall season might help turnout.