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68 Jamboree alive and well

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By Nick Schrager

There’s an old saying that goes: “Only time will tell.”
For the 68 Jamboree, time has been extremely gracious.
For the last four and a half years, the 68 Jamboree, which is four miles outside of Lebanon, has been a venue for country musicians from near and far.
William Weatherford, 86, and Libby Myers, 75, opened the 68 Jamboree on Dec. 12, 2009, as a place for people who do not drink but still want to have a good time. The family oriented location is alcohol, smoke, drug and weapons free.
Weatherford, a retired vocational teacher from Harrodsburg, said he started the place because he’s always loved country music.
“He said he always wanted to get into country music,” Myers said. “I said ‘Well, you’re not getting any younger so if you want to do it you’d better do it.’”
On their first night, the venue seated 41 people, but on their second night, they only had 19.
Since their humble beginnings, Weatherford and Myers have filled their theater style seats several times to maximum capacity. On average nights, they get 140-150 people for the shows, and most of them aren’t from around here, Weatherford said.
“You come out here on Saturday night, go out there and look at the cars’ license plates, better than 80 percent of them are from out of county,” Weatherford said.
Myers said the people from Marion County who do come really support their business.
Both Weatherford and Meyers run the business on their own, mostly. They have help with computer work and various other tasks, but Myers said she does all of the bookkeeping, sells tickets and even works in the snack bar.
“We love it,” Meyers said. “It’s a lot more work than either one of us had anticipated, but on Saturday nights that three-hour show goes by in a heartbeat.”
While the 68 Jamboree books acts from all over, one act has always stayed the same – the 68 Drifters.
John McQueary, the band’s master of ceremonies, said it’s been great to watch the 68 Jamboree grow since it started.
“It amazes me the amount of talent that is here Central Kentucky,” McQueary said.
Phillip Clarkson is the band’s bass player. He said he comes to the 68 Jamboree and plays with the band because it’s good music that he grew up on.
Though the music is not the only thing that keeps him there.
“It’s good people here,” Clarkson said.
He said he’s glad to be a part of it and hopes it continues for many years to come.
Danny Bailey is the 68 Drifter’s sound technician. He has been with the band for the last four years. He said he likes the 68 Jamboree because it’s a safe environment.
“You’re looking at a guy that was on the road for a long time,” Bailey said. “I’ve played clubs, bars, casinos, and theaters, and monster stages. But what I like about this place is it’s consistent. It’s safe. There’s no drinking, no smoking. You don’t have to worry about fights.”
He added the band is excellent and they have the right attitude and act professionally.
Much like the talent that come from near and far, the 68 Jamboree’s fan base is also broad. That’s because anyone from young children to the retirees can be seen in the crowd.
Bernard and Henrietta Edwards are what you could call regulars. In fact, they’ve been going to the 68 Jamboree since it opened. Henrietta said she likes the social atmosphere and that they have only missed a handful of shows. Bernard said the environment is friendly and homelike.
Sue Browning has gone to the 68 Jamboree for the last three years, though not every weekend.
“I’m just so glad we have good, local entertainment,” Browning said. “This is close to home.”
She said the place stands out from anywhere else in town because the guests are friendly.
“They make you feel like family,” Browning said.
For those interested in coming to the 68 Jamboree, they start selling tickets at 5 p.m. on Saturday evening, and the shows are scheduled to start at 7 p.m. Tickets are $10, though children 12 and under are free. Seating is on a first come, first serve basis.
 

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