Eric Church to headline new Jackson County music festival – Medford News, Weather, Sports, Breaking News

Multiplatinum-selling country music star Eric Church is the first named headliner for Rogue Music Fest, planned for June 16 and 17 at the Jackson County Expo. Rogue Music Fest will be the first music festival organized by Jackson County staff. [Courtesy photo / Reid Long]

Fans filled The Expo grounds for the Country Crossings Music Festival in 2017 and 2018. After the demise of that festival, Jackson County officials have decided to launch their own event — the two-day Rogue Music Festival June 16-17. [Andy Atkinson/Mail Tribune]

A two-day outdoor music festival — with platinum-selling country superstar Eric Church among the headliners — is headed to Jackson County this summer.

Church will perform Friday, June 16, at the Bi-Mart Amphitheater as part of the two-day Rogue Music Festival coming to The Expo this summer, Jackson County Expo Director Helen Baker announced Monday in a press conference.

The nine-artist music festival will be the county’s first multiday music event organized in-house, but county officials say they’ve learned from their roles assisting Willamette Country Music Concerts preparing for the Country Crossings Music Festival at The Expo in 2017 and 2018.

With the Country Crossings Music Festival, the Expo “was just the rental host,” Baker said.

“This time, it’s a totally different ball game,” Baker added. “Your county administration, your fair board, your everyone has chosen to come together to work on this as a county project.”

Headliner Eric Church’s repertoire includes 10 chart-topping singles, five platinum-selling albums, seven Academy of Country Music awards, four Country Music Association awards and 10 Grammy nominations. Church previously performed on the main stage in the 2018 Country Crossings Music Festival.

Baker said this summer’s concert event has buy-in from county commissioners, the county administrator, Jackson County Roads, fire chiefs, fire marshals and local police chiefs.

Commissioners Rick Dyer and Colleen Roberts were among those who applauded the new event, and what they hope will draw tourists and revenue to the Rogue Valley.

“We’re extremely excited,” Dyer said. “It’s a win-win-win as far as I can tell.”

Dyer said county leaders have been discussing and planning logistics for the new event for several months.

“The county — and the valley — has been hungry for something like this,” Dyer said.

The challenge in pulling off the new event, Baker said, is similar to her team’s approach to the fair.

“We don’t want to do things halfway,” Baker said. “We want to make sure that we come off planned, calculated and that we know what we’re doing.”

“It is very difficult because we haven’t exactly done this ourselves before, but we were at least here, present and everyone in this room at least had a piece of that before,” Baker added.

The names of a second headliner and seven other performers were still under wraps as of Monday pending contract negotiations.

Presale tickets covering admission for both days of the event start at $150 for general admission, to $500 for “Superfan Pit” standing-room-only tickets, according to information at Roguemusicfest.com.

Earlier Country Crossings music festivals in summers 2017 and 2018 were organized by Willamette Country Music Concerts, best known for their sister music festival near Brownsville. The 2019 event, however, was abruptly canceled in November 2018 after the ouster of WCMC’s longtime president and event manager Anne Hankins and a scandal that reportedly left contractors and vendors unpaid.

Hankins, of Springfield, ultimately pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in Eugene to charges of money laundering and wire fraud stemming from falsified bank statements and financial summaries, which federal prosecutors say Hankins used to influence the sale of her stake in WCMC, according to a news release Sept. 28 from the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Oregon.

Although Hankins pleaded guilty, court records show she disputes federal prosecutors’ claims in the release that call her a “serial fraudster” — so much so that she sought dismissal of the indictment.

U.S. District Judge Michael McShane denied Hankins’ attempt to dismiss the case last week and said she’ll be entitled to present “any evidence she feels is relevant” in her sentencing hearing currently scheduled for Feb. 2.

Reach web editor Nick Morgan at 541-776-4471 or nmorgan@rosebudmedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @MTwebeditor.

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