June Jam makes 2023 comeback to Fort Payne on June 3 at the Dekalb County VFW Fair Grounds.
The June Jam, was once a major annual event held in the quaint town of Fort Payne, Alabama, a key milestone in the history of American music. While Fort Payne enjoys its moniker as the “Official Sock Capital of the World,” it’s the city’s profound association with country music that has truly put it on the map. Home to the iconic country music band Alabama, this town also hosts the much-loved June Jam.
History of the June Jam
Originally initiated in 1982, the June Jam was the ingenious creation of the band Alabama, made up of Randy Owen, Teddy Gentry, and Jeff Cook. This trio, who originated from Fort Payne, sought to show their appreciation for their devoted fans and their beloved hometown after rising to national prominence. Their chart-topping hits like “Mountain Music,” “Song of the South,” and “If You’re Gonna Play in Texas” had earned them an extensive fan base across the country. In response to this, the June Jam was established as an annual celebration, presenting performances by Alabama along with a range of other local and national artists. Quickly becoming a popular event, it attracted large audiences to Fort Payne every summer, turning the city into a musical hotspot.
Over the years, the June Jam has provided a platform for numerous acclaimed artists in the music industry. Legendary performers such as Glen Campbell, Kenny Rogers, Dolly Parton, and Travis Tritt have all made memorable appearances. The illustrious history of the June Jam also boasts performances by an array of distinguished musicians. Among these, Alan Jackson, Charley Pride, Charlie Daniels, Garth Brooks, The Judds, Tim McGraw, Toby Keith, Trisha Yearwood, Wayne Newton, and Willie Nelson have each graced the stage, captivating audiences with their incredible talents.
Not just a music festival, the June Jam was also a platform for giving back to the community, with proceeds directed towards local causes. It transcended the typical concert format, bringing together people in a celebration of unity and fellowship, complete with food stalls, art showcases, and entertainment.
In 1997, the band Alabama decided to discontinue hosting the June Jam, signaling the end of an influential period in Fort Payne’s history. However, this didn’t sever the city’s strong bond with music. In 2011, the spirit of June Jam was reincarnated with the introduction of “Fandemonium,” an event maintaining the traditions of its predecessor, including a fusion of music and community involvement.
Fast forward to 2023, and the June Jam is making a remarkable comeback on June 3. Alabama has announced a stellar lineup of supporting acts for this grand concert, including some of the biggest names in country music. Randy Travis, Jamey Johnson, Jake Owen, The Oak Ridge Boys are just a few of the stars who will light up the stage. Also joining the lineup are The Frontmen, a country supergroup made up of Richie McDonald (formerly of Lonestar), Tim Rushlow (formerly of Little Texas), and Larry Stewart (of Restless Heart), alongside other notable artists such as Exile, Mark Wills, Neal McCoy, Dailey & Vincent, Home Free, The Malpass Brothers, and Dee Jay Silver.
Alabama Hits the Road
Following the loss of their guitarist Jeff Cook on November 7, 2022, the band Alabama resumed touring as a tribute to the music and spirit that Jeff had infused into the group. His legacy continues to inspire their performances, keeping his memory alive in the harmonious melodies that they share with their fans.
Regardless of whether Alabama is on tour or not, events like June Jam and Fandemonium have ensured that Fort Payne remains a vibrant fixture in the music world. The town continues to celebrate its music heritage and the band’s indelible influence through these events.
Today, the June Jam stands as a symbol of the success of the band Alabama and their unwavering commitment to Fort Payne. It is an affirmation of their devotion to their community and the enduring allure of their music. Through its rich legacy, the June Jam narrates a tale of community spirit, music, and philanthropy, securing its place in the cultural tapestry of Fort Payne, Alabama.