GLASGOW – A few things will be different for the 13th Vet Jam, starting with the fact that most of it will be indoors, but the core parts of the event – honoring veterans and enjoying music – will remain.
Organizer Ernie Wagoner, who has hosted the event at his property since it started, made the decision Monday to move everything that can go inside to the historic Plaza Theatre in downtown Glasgow due to rain that was expected to start Wednesday or Thursday and continue through the weekend.
The 5k run still will kick off from Wagoner's place at 1348 Rocky Hill Road, with registration beginning at 7 a.m. and the run at 8 a.m.
The doors at the Plaza Theatre, 115 E. Main St., will open at 10 a.m., and the opening ceremony starts at 11 a.m., Wagoner said. Admission is $10 for active military service members and $20 for others.
The opening ceremony leads into the presentations to veterans who are going to be honored – 16 this year. In the first 12 years of the event, a total of 153 have been recognized. The honors usually include citations from the state legislative bodies and a plaque from Vet Jam.
The concert begins after all the presentations are made.
The headliner act is The Artimus Pyle Band, which pays tribute to the music of Ronnie Van Zant's Lynyrd Skynyrd. APB also performed at the Plaza for the New Year's Eve show with the Kentucky Headhunters.
Pyle had been a Marine and was the drummer for Lynyrd Skynyrd when the plane carrying the band crashed in a Mississippi swamp Oct. 20, 1977, and he went through the swamp “barefoot, banged up and beat up” to get help, Wagoner said. The crash claimed the lives of six people, including Van Zant and three others who were part of or affiliated with the band, plus the pilot and co-pilot. Twenty others survived.
Wagoner said that before moving the event, he called the booking agent for the band, knowing what the answer would be but wanting to hear it from them, and asked whether the date could be postponed. He was right. The answer was “no.”
The rest of the lineup for Saturday comprises Cold Truth, Funk -N- Blues, Moto Thump, Nine Horse Johnson, Trick Bag, No Deposit Band, Tuff Dumplin and Shane Vaughn. Wagoner said most of the music is in the rock genre, but at least one performer has an acoustic set.
The event will still feature a silent auction and t-shirts will be for sale as well.
Hiseville Masonic Lodge 320 will be preparing food and selling it in the concession area, he said, but no other types of vendors will be setting up this year.
No coolers will be allowed, but the Plaza will have alcoholic beverages for sale.
The other main difference is that there will be no camping and no fireworks to close out the evening.
About the tough call he made to move the bulk of the event, Wagoner said, “We've got this low front that is coming in here and it's just going to be sitting over us.”
He said all the rain expected would not only saturate the ground, making it difficult to accommodate a tour bus, it could create hazardous conditions.
“Water and electricity don't mix very well,” Wagoner said. “And it would hurt us on attendance, and we've got too much money invested in this.”
During last year's event, it didn't rain at his place, but it apparently rained all around it, so people assumed it was doing the same there and stayed away.
“I couldn't let that happen two years in a row,” Wagoner said. “The best thing was to move it to an indoor venue, and what better place than the historic Plaza Theatre?”
He said the Plaza, a city-owned venue, had never scheduled anything for the same day, because, “They don't want to pull from us, and we don't want to pull from them,” so he called Glasgow Mayor Harold Armstrong and the wheels were set in motion to switch locations.
Because Vet Jam is a nonprofit organization, it gets a discount on the theater.
Proceeds from the event go to Freedom Warriors Community Veterans Organization, which uses the funds to help veterans throughout the year.
2019 VET JAM
5K RUN – rain or shine
registration at 7 a.m., run at 8
1348 Rocky Hill Road
From Glasgow, head west on Old Bowling Green Road (Ky. 1297) and turn left onto Ky. 255 at Beckton.
Heading toward Glasgow, turn right onto Ky. 255 from Ky. 1297.
The property at the 2-mile marker.
VETERAN PRESENTATIONS AND MUSIC
Doors open at 10, opening ceremony at 11.
115 E. Main St., Glasgow