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Southern Ohio Multimedia plays role in SamJam

     PIKETON, Ohio – Southern Ohio Multimedia and SamJamPromotions, in association with the Pike County Fair Board, the Pike County Convention and Visitors Bureau, and the Pike County Chamber of Commerce, have announced the creation of a three-day bluegrass festival in Piketon in 2016.

     Scheduled for September 2-4, the 2016 SamJam Bluegrass Festival features the most recognizable

names in bluegrass music and will also include a special performance from Shenandoah, one of country music's most iconic bands.  The lineup includes Balsam Range,  The Steeldrivers, The Lonesome River Band, IIIrd Tyme Out, bluegrass legend Doyle Lawson and Quicksilver, Blue Highway, The Grascals, Sideline, Flatt Lonesome, Adkins & Loudermilk, Nightflyer, Wildfire, Blue Mafia and Turning Ground, among others. The lineup includes multiple Grammy Award-winning performers and International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA) award winners.

     “The first step for any successful music event is a quality lineup and this festival is quality from start to finish,” said Sam Karr, the owner of SamJam Promotions. “It’s important to have the big names, but it’s also important to have the top young talent for a complete festival. This festival has it all and will be a great event over Labor Day weekend next year.”

     Shenandoah, a Grammy Award winning band that has five No. 1 singles to its credit and has been recognized as the Country Music Association's Vocal Group of the Year, will close out the show on Sunday, September 4.  Their iconic hits include, "Church on Cumberland Road," "Next to you, next to me," "Two Dozen Roses," "Sunday in the south," "I want to be loved like that," and many more.  Shenandoah lead singer Marty Raybon has spent many years in bluegrass music and his longtime affiliation with Karr prompted the band to make Piketon a stop on its 2016 tour with its original members.

     Rick Greene, a Waverly resident and owner of Southern Ohio Multimedia, said planning for the event began nearly two years in advance and means more to southern Ohio than just the entertainment.

     “One of the best things we do in southern Ohio is tourism. This event will bring people from throughout the Ohio Valley and beyond and will be a positive benefit to the local economy,” Greene said. “Festivals like this grow quickly and this event will have a multi-million dollar economic impact in southern Ohio. Our hotels, restaurants, gas stations, grocery stores, vendors, and businesses of all sorts will be the beneficiaries of this event.”

     Greene said he long knew that Piketon would be an ideal location for a bluegrass festival based on geography and the popularity of bluegrass music in the region. He said those factors, coupled with the excellent infrastructure at the Pike County Fairgrounds, means Pike County has everything necessary for a quality festival.

     “We sit at the intersection of U.S. 23 and Ohio 32, two four-lane highways that provide easy access to our location. What’s also important, and what many don’t realize, is that Columbus and the Cincinnati-northern Kentucky area are hotbeds for bluegrass music,” Greene said. “We’re also a short distance from eastern Kentucky, other points in Appalachia Ohio and West Virginia. We are poised to have a first-class festival that will have longevity in the years ahead.”

     Karr, of Marshall, Ind., toured the fairgrounds and Pike County in the spring.  He said the fairgrounds’ acreage, facilities, 300 electric and water hookups for campers, and other attributes are ideal for a bluegrass festival. 

     Besides the logistics, Greene said the support of the Pike County Fair Board, the Pike County Convention and Visitors Bureau and the Pike County Chamber of Commerce has been instrumental in organizing the event.

     “This festival would not be happening if not for people like Debbie Martin, the Pike County Fair Board members, Sharon Manson and Shirley Bandy. These are community-minded people who have worked hard to help us get this event off the ground,” Greene said. “Our sponsors have been fantastic and they, too, recognize what this event can mean for local economic development.  All these people have seen the vision that Sammy and I have and all of them have played a role in making it a reality.”

     Greene said fundraising efforts are under way and primary sponsors to date include Miller Lite, Vallery Chevrolet, State Farm Insurance (agents Megan Carroll [Chillicothe] and Angel Glass [Portsmouth]), and Tecumseh! Outdoor Drama.

     Karr said the community support has been impressive and that the festival has found a permanent home.

     “I’m convinced we have everything we need in Pike County to make this one of the finest bluegrass festivals in the nation.  Bluegrass fans will know what they will be getting, but for newcomers to bluegrass, or those who haven’t really listened to it much, this event will change the way they think about this genre of music,” Karr said.  “People are starting to realize that bluegrass musicians are among the finest in the world.  And with this lineup, that is exactly what this event will demonstrate.”

     To order tickets, see the festival's complete lineup, and other details, visit www.samjambluegrass.com.  To reserve water and electric hookups for recreational vehicles or campers during the festival, contact Mary Conley at (740) 708-0303.  For additional information, including how to become an event sponsor, contact Rick Greene at (740) 547-9059 or Sam Karr at (812) 699-0962.