ENTERPRISE, Alabama (CelebrityAccess MediaWire) — With a new executive producer, the Alabama festival BamaJam is looking to put a troubled few years behind them with a successful return in 2012.
Initially launched in 2008, the festival saw three solid years of growth, with lineups that featured artists such as Kid Rock, Brooks & Dunn and Taylor Swift and attendance figures reported to have topped 117,000 paid in 2010. However, the festival took a hit when its producer, Country Crossing casino developer Ronnie Gilley was charged in a gambling corruption case, Gilley now faces as much as 20 years in prison.
In 2011, Gilley canceled the event at the last minute, leaving the festival saddled with irritated fans and ticket refund costs as well as debts from the festival's 2010 edition. Ronnie Gilley Entertainment subsequently sold the festival to Tony Conway's Conway Entertainment Group and CEG worked to resurrect the festival for 2012, but eventually sold the festival to Rendy Lovelady, who hopes to turn the event around, the Montgomery Advertiser reported.
Lovelady, a 25-year veteran of the entertainment industry has experience both as an artist manager and a tour manager, working with artists such as Van Halen and Collective Soul.
Lovelady appears to have his work cut out for him. Many people who purchased tickets for last year's canceled festival are still waiting for refunds and Ron Gilley further impaired the festival's credibility when he admitted during his trial to scanning tickets multiple times in order to inflate attendance figures for the event.
"It is just because the last year, when it closed, there was so much confusion, Ronnie is paying people back for the tickets, and if you want to come to this year's festival, we will take last year's tickets.
"That is the biggest obstacle. The other is that since we are starting this so late in the process, it's like getting this big ole battleship that's been sitting on dry land afloat again." Lovelady told the Montgomery Advertiser.
As of yet, the festival has yet to announce a lineup for its anticipated return on June 14-16. – CelebrityAccess Staff Writers