Blame My Roots Country Music Festival Donates $25,000 to Volunteers | News, Sports, Jobs


Robert A. DeFrank DONATION — The Blame My Roots country music festival donated $25,000 Wednesday to school booster clubs and first responders who volunteered during the concert. On hand for the presentation were, left to right, Joe Thompson; Kelly Robinson of the Union Local Touchdown Club; Doug Harris, Chief of the Morristown Fire Department; Dustin Hudak of the Lafferty Fire Department; Matt Merryman of the Shadyside booster club; Amy Latham of the Union Local Jets boosters; and Chris Dutton, co-creator of Blame My Roots and event organizer.

MORRISTOWN – The Blame My Roots summer country music festival made donations on Wednesday in thanks to area firefighters and boosters from Shadyside and Union Local who volunteered their time to make the event held from July 14 to 16 a success.

The Union Local Touchdown Club, Shadyside Athletic Boosters, Union Local School District Jets Boosters, Lafferty Volunteer Fire Department and Morristown Fire Department have all donated their time to help bring country music back into the hills of Belmont County after the nearby Jamboree in the Hills was suspended indefinitely.

July marked Blame My Roots’ third year, conducted despite the disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and inflation concerns.

“We thank all the organizations that have volunteered for us,” Event organizer Chris Dutton said. The Dutton family owns the Valley View Campground where the concerts are held. “We were able to donate approximately $25,000 to local organizations that helped us during the festival. It’s important to us, it feels good to have an event that can bring so much to the local communities, and being from this area, from the Union Locale and Lafferty area… it feels good to be able to give to organizations that I knew and grew up with. »

Dutton said the $25,000 was divided based on the number of volunteer hours.

“A lot of that goes to the local Union School District,” Dutton said, adding that Blame My Roots is part of the community.

“Having a festival, putting on an event that offers that to the community, I think it’s incumbent on us to do something like that as well, and just being able to bring those people together once after the festival was important to us. … These organizations help a lot, from parking to selling drinks.

Firefighters and first responders provided emergency assistance, and recalls could be seen directing traffic and working the concession stands.

“Because the festival can attract a lot of visitors and guests and raise this kind of money, we are able to return this kind of money,” said Duton. “As it grows and gets bigger, those numbers will also increase.”

He estimates an overall attendance of 12,000 people for the three days, comparable to the previous festival.

“It went well, we were hoping for more but we sold a lot more, we had a lot more ancillary revenue this year than last year, so it shows there is growth and we hope to be able to put put in place a range that will continue to grow,” said Duton.

He added that the turnout despite gas prices and economic concerns was impressive.

“We were happy with that, again we want to see those individual numbers go up, all the people who buy from food vendors and buy goods and buy drinks, if we’re able to increase that number then we can have the festival,” he said. “Medical and fire and all those sorts of things that help us have a successful festival. The bigger we get, the more needs we will have in these areas and the more money will go back into the community…we need to get bigger.

“We were super happy to be invited here for Blame My Roots,” Matt Merryman of the Shadyside Booster Club said, adding that the money will be invested in student-athlete programs at Shadyside High School and to pay for a grass pitch project. “It was a great two days, we had fun, we got to listen to great country music and sell products.”

“It’s great for Blame My Roots to give back,” Dustin Hudak of the Lafferty Fire Department said. “We send a huge thank you to Chris and the rest of the Dutton family for the donation. We were here all three days, our donation will go towards new equipment and different items that our members need to help protect our citizens.

“We love supporting the event, we really do, so when they asked us to come, of course,” Doug Harris of the Morristown Fire Department said. “It was a good event and we really hope it continues to grow.”

To get involved in the Blame My Roots Festival 2023, email

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