It’s time for Willis to show his hand

Bobby Willis, promoter and owner of Catus Canyon talks about his new music festival. Willis will be hosting the"Bobby’s Birthday Bash Festival”, June 23-25 in Loma, just off I-70. General admission will be free.



Not that we’re lyricists here, but we have noted that Mack doesn’t get any countrier than this.

Mack, home to corn fields, cattle and horses, has long been home to Country Jam, an annual music festival that has put western Colorado on the map for artists touring the country.

Cue now, after two decades of Country Jam USA, the arrival of Bobby Willis, who pulls into town, takes up residence in a mobile home, and, according to Country Jam, makes noise about buying the show.

Willis, again according to Country Jam, signed a nondisclosure agreement that allowed him to look behind the financial backdrop and make an offer.

Suffice to say that Willis didn’t buy Country Jam, but he didn’t go back on the road again either.

Willis instead began booking acts for a free event he calls Bobby’s Birthday Bash that just happens to coincide with the Country Jam weekend in June.

Country Jam has taken Willis to court alleging he broke his agreement and put to his own use proprietary information he gained from his peek behind the scenes of the music festival.

Country Jam hosted a meeting on Thursday in which its attorney, Joe Coleman, seemed to channel a sad country song, warning attendees that Willis will hurt Mesa County and Loma, “But he doesn’t care.”

You don’t have to be Taylor Swift to suspect someone wants something better than revenge from all this.

Willis has scheduled his own meeting at 7 p.m. Thursday at Loma Elementary School, presumably to explain all.

We hope so.

To be sure, Country Jam has no exclusive claim to its June weekend and Willis is within his rights to spend his money on a free-to-the-public country music extravaganza if that’s what he wants.

It’s fair to say, though, that Willis could use a few friends and we have some suggestions in that regard.

He’s been less than forthcoming about his financial abilities and even less forthright about his motives.

Willis needs to dispel concerns that could lead people in the Grand Valley to fear that he could do harm to a festival that has a history and has become an important part of the region’s tourist and entertainment economy.

Put it this way: Willis might not need the money, but the Grand Valley sure does.

Willis says he’s a country music lover, and that’s fine, but we have to wonder if Tina Turner was onto something when she asked, what’s love got to do with it?

When people don’t know the answers to those questions, well, that’s how heartache begins.


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