On August 2, 2014, the longest-running music jamboree in the state of Texas will celebrate its 60th anniversary. The New Baden Jamboree began in 1954 on a flat bed truck parked outside the Robertson County courthouse in Franklin, Texas. Since then, the Jamboree has been taking place regularly—at first every Saturday night, and now every first Saturday of the month. The original founders were Wesley Stitch and Hardy Ellison. Hardy Ellison’s son Charles Ellison is one of the musicians scheduled to appear at the August celebration.
“We hope folks will come on over and just have a good time. It’s a milestone for us,” invites E.W. Bridwell, emcee of the Jamboree. Bridwell is part of The Stetson Trio, a band that has opened the Jamboree many a time with a combination of excellent traditional music and droll humor.
Most of the bands scheduled to appear are return favorites to the Jamboree or have a special connection to the New Baden area:
- Charles Ellison and friends – Charles is the son of one of the Jamboree founders, and a Nashville recording artist that has been playing music since the age of 16. He brings a wide range of musical talent and singing ability to the stage, and probably a few friends as well.
- Dennis Ivey Band – Dennis Ivey has played the Jamboree many times during its long history. He now hosts Dennis Ivey’s Texas Opry in Crockett, Texas, but is returning to celebrate the 60th anniversary with long-time friends.
- The Miller Family – This family band hails from nearby Franklin, Texas. They always enjoy playing the Jamboree, and the audiences love hearing them.
- J.T. McBride – J.T. McBride has a big following at the Jamboree, both for his exceptional musical performances and for his family connections to the area. J.T. is one of a long line of outstanding musicians that the McBride-Owens family has produced over the years.
- The Stetson Trio – This band is a welcome staple at the Jamboree, with emcee Bridwell leading the engaging musical group.
“We are still working on signing up bands that want to play at the anniversary Jamboree,” notes Bridwell. “No telling who you might hear when it’s all said and done.”
The Jamboree is held in the New Baden Community Center in New Baden, Texas, and the building has a long history of its own. Recently the Community Center has undergone extensive renovation and remodeling, thanks to the efforts of many dedicated workers. You can find a history of the community framed on the center walls.
“We’ve devoted a lot of time and donations to this place over the last year,” says Bridwell. “We’re proud of what we’ve accomplished so far and love to share it with people. At the 60th celebration, we plan to introduce our brand new sign up over the stage. We’re still working on everything, but we’ve changed a lot of things.” And indeed they have. In addition to renovations in the main body of the building, the changes include an expanded state-of-the-art café with a new coffee corner. With its new insulation and upgraded air conditioning system, the building stays cool and comfortable.
The New Baden Jamboree is sponsored by the New Baden/Camp Creek Lions Club. Lions Club International is a civic service organization founded in 1917 and currently the largest worldwide service club organization. The New Baden/Camp Creek Lions Club organizes the Jamboree, serves the delicious New Baden Burgers that go along with it, and maintains the facility where the Jamboree is held.
Each Jamboree performance promises enjoyable entertainment and friendly folks. This August 2, the Jamboree will have an extra lively atmosphere, with complimentary refreshments available for attendees. Food sales of the famous New Baden Burgers and other delectables in the café start at 5:00 p.m. and music begins at 6:00 p.m.
For more information you can check the Camp Creek information website about the Jamboree.