By Terry Rogers
On Saturday, June 10, G&R Campground on Gun and Rod Club Road in Houston will be filled with people relaxing in lawn chairs, enjoying picnic lunches and listening to nine different bands throughout the day. The 39th Annual June Jam kicks off at noon with gates opening around 10 AM.
This year, bands performing throughout the day include Krush, Rush tribute band, Mike Hines and The Look, Triple Rail Turn, Smokin Gunz, Wes Spengler, Dirty Deal featuring Billy Meyers, Universal Funk Order, 13:1 and the Junior Jammers. Ms. Fowler said that bands are chosen by staff and fans of the day-long concert.
“We request submissions from bands on our Facebook page,” Ms. Fowler said. “Our staff spends the year going to hear different bands, listening and bringing back recordings to other staff. We put the information up on our Facebook page and, basically, majority rules in a vote of staff and fans. It’s a rough job to go out, have a few cocktails and listen to music, but somebody has to do it.” Ms. Fowler said that there are often returning bands each year due to their popularity and the June Jam organization likes to support local bands.
Often called Delaware’s Best Outdoor Concert, June Jam was born of tragedy. In 1978, three friends were working on a roof in Magnolia when they accidentally came into contact with electricity. Randy Miller and Stanley Palmer were severely injured while Richard Vogl died of his injuries. None of the men had health insurance and the two surviving men were unable to work. This left their families in severe financial difficulty. Bob Hartley, John Tazelaar, Wayne Buckworth, Emily Phillips, Glenn Courtney, Charles Angstadt and the late Mark Kelly, all classmates of the men and graduates of the Caesar Rodney Class of 1973, decided to turn their fifth-year class reunion into a benefit for the two men as well as the family of Mr. Vogl. Local bands were asked to donate their time and talent, the group was able to get t-shirts printed for sale and the event was held at the Camden-Wyoming Fire Hall in June 1979.
Over the years, the event has grown significantly, raising thousands for many needy individuals and charitable organizations. Every June Jam has a Charity Booth with prizes and guests are encouraged to visit the booth while in attendance as raffle tickets are sold at the Charity Booth or by staff members walking around. Ms. Fowler said that all the profits of the event are used to support local people and charities. June Jam chooses different organizations each year. This year’s event will benefit the Ronald McDonald House, Toys for Tots, Delaware Veterans, Code Purple and various individuals who are in need.
Over the years, many well-known bands have performed at June Jam, including Kansas, Molly Hatchet, .38 Special, Cheap Trick, Dave Mason and the Fabulous Thunderbirds. This year’s bands play a varied selection of music. Other than Krush, which salutes the music of Rush, Mike Hines and the Look has been a popular band throughout Delaware for more than three decades. They are a high energy dance band, playing r&b, hip-hop, pop, old school funk with some Motown and disco thrown in as well. Triple Rail Run, formerly known as Philbilly, plays modern country that rocks and their Facebook page says the band interests are “country music…beer…in that order.” Smokin Gunz is also a country pop group out of Schaumburg, Illinois.
Wesley Spangler was raised in Southern Maryland and has been performing for over ten years. He has opened for acts like Rodney Atkins, Craig Campbell, Blake Shelton, Brad Paisley, Zac Brown, Jimmy Buffett and more. He is a country artist who performs songs that are pieces of his life. Dirty Deal is a Maryland-based hard rock band formed in the 80s, known for their energizing live shows. They will be joined by Billy Meyers, a talented singer and songwriter. Universal Fund Order is a funk/jam act based in Wilmington. The group draws inspiration from all areas of the musical spectrum in their quest to stimulate the mind. The band has a tight rhythm section and an energy driven horn section. 13:1 offers a unique sound of heavy, unprocessed, raw tones and are based in Smyrna. The Junior Jammers are children of June Jam volunteers who perform songs each year at the event.
“Tickets are still available,” Lynn Fowler, Vice President of the charitable organization, said. “They can be ordered online at www.junejam.com, although we will not be mailing them at this time. It will be more of a will call at the gate. You can also purchase them at all B&B Music locations and Mainstay Suites in Dover. They can also be purchased at the date.” All ticket holders must have a photo ID and the name on the ticket must match the identification. Tickets are $35 per person.
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