ST. CLAIRSVILLE — Live Nation has placed Jamboree in the Hills, a popular four-day music festival on National Road west of St. Clairsville, on hiatus for 2019.
Live Nation issued the following statement on Wednesday, according to WTOV 9.
"Jamboree in the Hills will be on hiatus for 2019 while we consider options regarding the future of the Belmont County, Ohio festival site. We will provide an update when more details are available. We are grateful for the community support since the festival’s inception."
WTOV9 reported Belmont County Commissioner Mark Thomas confirmed the move by Live Nation, an American events promoter and venue operator based in Beverly Hills, Calif.
"Attendance was way off, which led us to reach out to Live Nation to say, ‘Would you be willing to sit down with us?’" Thomas told WTOV9. "Because we could see it from a business perspective, that it may be waning as far as its viability. So, they did and I commend them for it."
Thomas told the Steubenville-based television station that he met with Live Nation officials personally to discuss the future of the festival.
The commissioner said he respects the decision after seeing the declining attendance, although it’s disappointing for businesses that rely on that third week in July, according to a story aired by WTOV9. WTRF7 of Wheeling, W.Va., reported the decision "followed a year of turmoil, controversy and complaints about the quality of the entertainment."
Thomas told WTRF7 that Live Nation has been facing losses, with low ticket sales and complaints about the quality of entertainment. He said a big part of the problem was a huge flap between fans and management about people being able to bring their own beer.
"I think it would be a big help if Live Nation were able to do concessions like they do at some of the rest of their facilities — Star Lake, Key Bank Pavilion — where they actually sell the beer as opposed to bringing it in." Thomas told WTRF7.
Fans reportedly rebelled when it was tried two years ago, but Thomas said there’s a question the fans have to ask themselves.
"Do you want a festival?" asked Thomas during the interview by WTRF7. "If so, can we make some changes? Or possibly the festival goes away for good come 2020 if those changes can’t be made."
Thomas said Live Nation decided on the hiatus at this point in time because this is the time of year when they book the acts and start selling passes.