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June Jam persists with modified festival this Saturday

The nonprofit raises money for charities every year

Emily Lytle
Dover Post
Jason Morton and the Chesapeake Sons will headline the 42nd June Jam Oct. 10.

Music has the power to bring people together. That is especially apparent each summer in Houston, Delaware, when about 1,000 people gather at the G&R Campground for June Jam, a music festival that raises money for different charities.

This year, of course, was different. The organizers’ plans to host the 42nd June Jam quickly came to a halt as large festivals and parades started shutting down to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

After initially pushing the festival back to August, founder Bob Hartley said June Jam had one more chance to submit a plan for state approval. “This was our last shot,” he said. The organizing team met for a month to draft the plan, which finally got the greenlight after some modifications from state officials. 

“To say that we were overjoyed when our proposal was accepted, that’s an understatement,” Hartley said. 

The festival is set for Saturday, Oct. 10, and gates open at 10 a.m. Music starts at noon, and the lineup includes headliner Jason Morton and the Chesapeake Sons, Johnny Neel, lower case blues, a special reunion of the band Hot Wire, Joey Fulkerson and Nothin’ But Trouble, Petting Hendrix and Tenfold Trouble.

“We’re real pleased to put this lineup out there. We have a very large sound system and an excellent light show coming in,” Hartley said. “We’re going to light up the sky.”

Since attendance is capped at 500 people, very limited tickets remain, and they will be sold at the gate. When people enter the festival, they will be asked if someone can take their temperature. Barriers will be set up to keep patrons at least 13 feet from performers.

June Jam organizers are asking attendees to wear masks while mingling around or close to other people, but people can remove face coverings when seated in the chairs they brought with them or at the picnic tables provided at the venue. 

“It’s been a struggle for our staff to still be able to put on a first class event, but when people come out we think they will be very pleased with their efforts because you can still have a great time and enjoy yourself at the 42nd June Jam,” he said. “And you can do it safely.”

The majority of funds raised from the festival will go toward Toys for Tots, and organizers are asking attendees to bring unwrapped presents with them. Considering the financial hardship many families have faced, Hartley expects “there’s going to be more need than any year this year.”

The second beneficiary of the 42nd June Jam will be Delaware Friends of Veterans, which gives emergency funding to veterans in need.  

June Jam fundraises throughout the year, and many of their big events this year, like the Apple Scrapple Festival and concerts at Hudson Fields, were canceled. 

Hartley said he looks forward to the festival this Saturday and is hopeful for beautiful weather. For more information, visit www.junejam.com.