Steve Beauregard Column June 24, 2009

A big 'YEAAAAH’ from the Jam

Well, it’s just a few more hours until the big day. We’ve been waiting with breathless anticipation for it for quite awhile now, and Thursday, it’s finally here. Yes, it’s trash day.

So make sure those cans are out on the curb with all your refuse securely tied.
It’s also the start of Country Jam, which this year fittingly, is brought to you by Hyundai.

Because I don’t know about you, but when I hear good old fashioned all-American, down-home country music, I naturally think of South Korean economy cars.

The festivities start when, as is tradition, an attendee is selected at random and given the microphone for the honor of issuing the opening belch.

This is followed by the opening act, who will then take the stage and jump start the show in front of a wild and jam-packed crowd of 14, maybe 15 people. That’s because it’s early yet, so most people are still in the campground either sleeping or “pacing themselves,” by which I mean they are sipping beer, rather than guzzling pure grain alcohol. That’s something they won’t do until way later, like noon.

Eventually however, the crowds will form. They’ll be a diverse group, representing all major genders.

The men will be shirtless, beads draped around their neck, sporting a plethora of tattoos — some of which are even spelled correctly — and holding beer mugs the size of small children. In between acts, they’ll strut around the field, whistling and making catcalls at every single female who walks by, even if she is an overweight 86-year-old.

The women will roam in packs, as they’re prone to do, sashaying in cutoffs one size too small. Not that anyone is going to complain. They’ll be carrying red or green colored drinks with names like “Jack Beam’s Hurricane So-Co-Rita On a Beach Punch.” And they’ll proudly display their true, authentic country roots by wearing boots and cowboy hats, even though they’re all actually accountants from Aurora.

Either way, these jammers will all share something in common: a love of country music.

That, and a thick layer of dust covering their entire bodies. But they won’t notice this.

They’ll be too focused on the music, waiting for the band to start playing their favorite song , upon which — in true Country Jam fashion — they’ll signal their approval by raising their drink high and shouting “YEAAAAH!” Just like they do during an opera at the Met.

Of course, out of 20,000 people, there’s always going to be some moron who drinks too much beer, tries to dance (even though he has no rhythm), and generally makes a complete ass out of himself. But enough about me. This week is about jammers, their friends and the much needed boost they bring to our local economy by their generous spending on things such as hotel rooms, souvenirs and bail bondsmen.

Because really, Country Jam is about making memories. At least it is for me. I remember going to the first Jam, back in 1992, when we were treated to an incredible, unforgettable, once-in-a-lifetime performance by someone I can’t remember right now.

What I do remember in the Jams since then are those rare and special moments. For example: (true story), one year at Country Jam, towards the end of the night, I saw a man and woman come out of the same porta-potty together.

Call me a hopeless romantic, but it’s those kind of touching moments that make my heart melt; moments that define the Country Jam experience. Because in the end, it’s a festive experience. One where the air is filled with the magical spirit of endless possibilities.

Then again, that could be dust.


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