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FRIDAY JAM: Gulf Coast Jam set for Labor Day weekend

The 2014 Gulf Coast Jam will be Aug.29-21 in Panama City. (Special photo)

The 2014 Gulf Coast Jam will be Aug.29-21 in Panama City. (Special photo)

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Blake Shelton (Special photo)

PANAMA CITY, Fla. — For country music lovers, Panama City will be the place to be Labor Day weekend when some of the biggest names in country music come to town for the Pepsi Gulf Coast Jam.

The three-day music festival, Aug. 29-31, will include stars such as Carrie Underwood, Blake Shelton, Dierks Bentley, Lonestar, Big and Rich, Love and Theft, Laura Bell Bundy, Cassadee Pope, Randy Houser and more. For a detailed list and concert schedule, visit www.albanyherald.com.

A spinoff of Alabama’s Bama Jam, the Gulf Coast Jam is now in its second year after much success with its initial run in 2013.

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Dierks Bentley (Special photo)

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Carrie Underwood (Special photo)

“Panama City was my first choice for hosting this event,” Rendy Lovelady said, who also helped create Bama Jam.

“After conducting some research, we found that what a lot of people in the area want is great country music, good food and a fun time on the beach.

“They can definitely find all of that here, and from day one, Panama City’s tourist development officials, law enforcement, and city officials have really stepped up to the plate to work as a team and make this event something everyone can enjoy.”

Last year’s attendance for the festival topped off at approximately 10,000, and Lovelady hopes to see that number grow this year. So far, Albany and the Southwest Georgia area has been one of their largest ticket purchasing areas.

Lovelady stressed, however, that the Gulf Coast Jam will remain a family-friendly event, appropriate for both children and adults.

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Last year's Gulf Coast Jam

“We saw a lot of families last year, and people of all ages,” Lovelady said. “And, I’m happy to say that there was not a single arrest made during the entire festival.

“I think a lot of people get scared off because of spring break stories,” he said. “I don’t think that’s fair to Panama City, and this event is not going to be like that. Above all, we want people to feel like this is a place where they can feel safe.”

A certainty that festival-goers can expect is the chance to relax while listening to quality music.

“The Gulf Coast Jam is one of only three national events hosted by Pepsi,” Lovelady noted, “so you know that the production and sound quality is going to be good.”

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2013 Gulf Coast Jam

Attendees will have two stages on which to watch performers – the Daytime Beach stage, which will be located at Panama City’s M.B. Miller County Pier, showcasing talent playing both original hits and cover songs from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m.

Ticketholders will then be shuttled to the Main Headline Stage at Frank Brown Park, where the music will continue from 4:30 p.m. until midnight.

Organizers for the Gulf Coast Jam have partnered with lodging locations to offer packages that include accommodations, festival tickets, and transportation.

With the purchase of accommodations, buyers receive a ticket to the festival, and free transportation through the festival’s shuttle service that will transport attendees to and from the hotels and two music stages.

Information for viewing available lodging sites and purchasing tickets can be found on the festival’s website at www.gulfcoastjam.com.

“This is just going to be a really good time for people to come relax and have fun for a few days,” Lovelady said. “The benefit of hosting it on Labor Day weekend means with that extra time, people can enjoy the event Friday through Sunday, and then still have all day Monday to travel back home.”

Tickets to the Pepsi Gulf Coast Jam are for all three days; single day tickets to the festival are not available. Tickets can be purchased by visiting the festival’s website or by calling (888) 512-7469.