One doesn't need much of a history lesson about the Mississippi Delta region to know that music is a huge part of the area. Harbor Entertainment's Drew Dedo is well aware of this fact, and is excited to be helping celebrate that heritage with the Delta Country Jam, slated for October 4-5 in Tunica, MS.
"I am very excited and honored to be a part of the inaugural year," Dedo told Billboard. "I'm looking forward for the opportunities in the years to come to build a really great festival. This is one of the few big festivals that will take place in the fall, and we're excited to bring it to this area."
Taking place at the historic Abbay & Leatherman Plantation, the Jam will be a little different. For starters, the weather will be in the process of changing, so unlike many country festivals, sweltering heat and humidity shouldn't be a problem. "Hopefully, the mosquito count will be down, and all in all, I think it will be a nice transition time," Dedo said.
He thinks that the varied lineup- which includes Tim McGraw, Kellie Pickler, and Thompson Square should fit hand in hand with the rich musical history of the region. "It's the area where Robert Johnson sat on the levee and played. Our location is just about a mile up the levee from where he used to play. The blues has influenced everything from rock and roll to today's country music. I think it will be a great fit to the area."
Dedo believes there's a little something for everyone. At least, he says, that was the goal. "The group that brought in my company, Harbor Entertainment, to produce for them is a private group that are based between Tunica, Memphis, Nashville, and Arkansas. We worked to come up with a line-up that wasn't just one artist in particular, but was able to cover a lot of ground, with names like Randy Houser, Jerrod Niemann, and Kellie Pickler and Tim McGraw. It just shows how well country is appealing to a broad base of people."
In addition to the music on the stages Friday and Saturday, there will be other events going on. "We will be having some interactive pieces with what we are calling our promotional partners, like the local casinos and other area businesses that will be coming out in support of this event. We will be hosting two after parties at Hollywood Casino that will be age appropriate, with DJ DU doing all the break-up portions during the festival." Dedo also hopes to bring in some sports figures from the bass and hunting world, as well.
Also, organizers are planning to include a golf match in the mix, as well. "We're working on a celebrity shootout before some of the artists take the stage – just to have some fun and perhaps do a gift bag with some associated charities that we're trying to work in the mix," he says. If that wasn't enough, some lucky band will receive some major exposure. "We have a Battle Of The Bands competition in our saloon tent that will be going on, with the winner getting to play 15 minutes on the main stage on Saturday."
Billy Currington, who will headline the Friday night show, is excited to be involved with the Jam. "I was so excited the minute I heard about the show," he tells Billboard. "It's always good to get to Tunica. It's such a happy place. We always have a lot of fun there." He also plans on watching some of his fellow acts on the bill, because, after all, you can gain a lot by watching. "It's always great to just sit on the side of the stage and learn from what they do, and carry it with me. There's some great people to learn from."