• Added info on Jimmy Ford, thanks to Volker Houghton. • Extended and corrected the post on Happy Harold Thaxton (long overdue), thanks to everyone who sent in memories and information! • Added information to the Jim Murray post, provided by Mike Doyle, Dennis Rogers, and Marty Scarbrough. • Expanded the information on Charlie Dial found in the Little Shoe post.

Wednesday, April 10, 2024

Pine Mountain Jamboree

The Pine Mountain Jamboree logo, taken from one of the show's cassette tapes

It appears that there have been quite a couple of family-friendly country music live stage shows in Arkansas that emerged in the second half of the 20th century. These were often non-radio shows, people could only experience the fun they promised when attending the shows. Sometimes recordings were made, like it is the case for Eureka Springs' Pine Mountain Jamboree.

The show was founded by the Drennon family, led by Dave and Deanna "Dee" Drennon. Mike and Mindy Drennon helped also but it is unknown to me how they were related. The show started in 1975 and became a popular one, as it continued for over four decades. It featured mostly country musicians, though the cast remains another blank spot in the show's history. Country and gospel classics were performed live on stage, mixed with comedy. The building housing the show was located on Highway 62 in East Eureka Springs and featured vacation homes, shops, and other entertainment as well.

Several recordings were made in the early 1980s. Two LPs appeared in 1981 and 1982 and at least two cassette tapes were issued, too, although it's not clear if the LP tracks differed from the cassettes. There appears to have been a CD in 2003 entitled "Thirty and Counting" (though the show's 30th anniversary would not have been until 2005), which suggests the show was still in existence at that time.

The Drennons retired from the show business eventually and leased the building to Mike and Dale Bishop, who continued to put on shows there for the next years under the name of "Pine Mountain Theatre". The Bishops discontinued their shows, however, and the Drennon family finally sold the estate and buildings to the local Pig Trail Harley-Davidson shop, who turned over management of the Pine Mountain Jamboree to Mark Wayne Beers.

The opening show under Beers' supervision took place in May 2015. During the following months, the show featured such acts as Walt Morrison, Kimberly Swatzell, the Brick Fields Band, Buster Sharp, as well as Beers himself. Beers was ambitious but had to close the show in late 2015 with the last show being on November 12 that year. The building on 2015 East Van Buren (Highway 62) is still standing but abandoned nowadays.

The Pine Mountain Jamboree building in recent years
Source: Google Street View

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