Jam I am: The dos and don’ts of Country Jam

Country Jam is a time when people from all over the country come to the Grand Valley to spend four days ingesting massive quantities of dust while drinking overpriced beers and purchasing souvenirs so tacky the cast from “Jersey Shore” thinks they’re cheesy.

There’s also some music.

Some days, attendance at the Jam reaches 20,000 fans. For you number geeks, that’s a total of 20,000 mouths, 40,000 hands, 200,000 fingers and 819 teeth.

These fans come in droves. According to Billboard Magazine, Country Jam USA ranks in the top two of all the music festivals held on 13 Road.

The festivities kick off on Thursday. Longtime Jam stalwarts Sawyer Brown are back, just in case you missed them the first 74 times they’ve been here. Don’t get me wrong; they’re good and all, but there’s only so many times you can see a bald guy twirl around in a circle fast. Their Thursday night slot is typical of a country act’s career regression. After peaking as the headline act on Saturday night, you’re moved to Friday. Then Thursday. A couple years later you start playing the Olathe Sweet Corn Festival, followed by county fair gigs, bars, etc., to the point where eventually you wind up in a backyard playing at Billy Sullivan’s First Communion party.

I’m going to the Jam on Saturday, when the headline performer will be Alan Jackson. Or at least that’s what all the promotional pieces, TV, newspaper and radio ads for the past 365 days have promised. It turns out, however, that Jackson is unable to perform due to a last minute “scheduling conflict,” which I can only assume means that somebody forgot to write the concert date down in their day timer. Nevertheless, music fans need not worry. Country Jam assures us that Jackson will perform at next year’s Jam. Unless, of course, there’s another last minute “scheduling conflict,” in which case you can definitely expect him to be here in 2012 or possibly 2013. 2018 at the very latest. Get your advance tickets now.

But just because Alan Jackson bailed out on us doesn’t mean you can’t have fun at Country Jam this year. Well actually it does. Still, you can enhance the experience by following these helpful Dos and Don’ts.

DON’T: Hop on that thrill ride called the “Sling Shot” right after eating an entire Navajo taco. And that’s all I’m going to say about that.

DO: Be somewhat conscious of your physical appearance. A good rule of thumb is that if your body fat mass index exceeds 40 percent, reconsider that decision to take off your shirt. Yes, I realize it’s hot, but some of us are trying to eat.

DON’T: Mistake an outhouse for a romantic rendezvous. Porta-Potties are for certain bodily functions. Lovemaking is not one of them.

DO: Watch your alcohol intake. For example: Say you drink two drinks per hour, for three consecutive hours. You know what that means? It means you should really consider stepping up the pace.

DON’T: Drink lots of water. Radio DJs and stage announcers will tell you to avoid dehydration by drinking lots of water, but they’re just trying to increase bottled water sales. Besides, it’s hard to hold two beers and a water at the same time.

FOR WOMEN. DO: Flash random drunk men in exchange for plastic beads. After all, these exotic prized trophies are hard to come by. In fact, if you had to go into a store and attempt to purchase these beads yourself, you’d pay upward of 27 cents for them.

FOR MEN. DON’T: Make catcalls at women passing by. Never in recorded history has a guy successfully gotten anywhere with a female after whistling at her. If you see an attractive woman you’d like to meet, have the guts to man up and introduce yourself to her the right way, by which I mean Facebook her. Be bold and ask her out. You never know, the date may go great. Then again she may be rude and not show up. It’s called being “stood up.”

Or, as they say in the concert business, there’s a “scheduling conflict.”

E-mail Steve Beauregard at beauregardsteve@ hotmail.com.


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