As expected, Conway Entertainment Group has opted not to proceed with the Bama Jam music festival in Enterprise, Ala., for 2011, and plan on bringing the event back in 2012.
Embattled developer and festival founder Ronnie Gilley posted on his Facebook page Tuesday that he will refund all pre-sold tickets, and will give this year’s ticket holders a two-for-one ticket deal to next year’s event. Gilley has been under house arrest with electronic monitoring since April and is awaiting sentencing on federal bribery charges relating to his Country Crossing project in Dothan, Ala.
CEG acquired Bama Jam earlier this year from Ronnie Gilley Entertainment, and CEG CEO Tony Conway previously told Billboard that resolving these refund issues and others, including money owed to Bama Jam vendors from the 2010 event, would have to be resolved before CEG could proceed with the event.
CEG is now working with attorneys and the current land owners of the festival site regarding holding the festival in 2012.
Gilley, along with another casino owner, four legislators and several lobbyists, were arrested in October of 2010 on bribery charges related to gambling laws in the state. Even with his plea agreement, Gilley could be facing more than 20 years in prison, though his cooperation and testimony at a trial to begin June 6 should play in his favor.
Launched in 2008 on a 2,000-acre site, Bama Jam was gaining momentum until Gilley’s legal battles. Last year was the fest’s biggest ever, with an aggregate attendance of 117,000 paid and a combined gross for ticket sales and sponsorships of more than $6 million, Conway told Billboard in an earlier interview.
Among the artists that played Bama Jam last year were Kenny Chesney, Gregg Allman, Hank Williams, Jr., Zac Brown Band, Miranda Lambert, Dierks Bentley, Buddy Guy, Rodney Adkins, Jamey Johnson, Travis Tritt, and Gretchen Wilson.