The 2013 Smoky Hill River Festival is here. The annual Festival Jam officially started the event Thursday evening, in front of a crowd of nearly 11,000 people.
Fans began picking their spots in front of the Eric Stein Stage in Oakdale Park when the gates opened at 4:00. Within a matter of minutes, many of the best spots were claimed. The large crowd enjoyed a mild, beautiful evening.
Steve Hansen organized the first Jam 27 years ago, and still organizes the annual event. He told KSAL News that he couldn’t pull off an event of this size without a lot of help. He credits his staff, and the sound crew from Hooper Sound in making the event run smoothly.
Every 15 minutes a new band took the stage. The music included rock, punk, country, bluegrass, blues, oldies, and combinations of each.
One of the bands taking the stage was the Rob Northcutt Band. The band is no stranger to Salina, or the Festival Jam. But this year the focus was a little different. Northcutt is on a mission to raise money, and awareness, for Jayden Hicks. Hicks is the child who suffered an electrical shock last week in Salina, and remains in critical condition in a Wichita hospital.
Rob Northcutt is also a Salina Firefighter, and he was on duty the night that the department responded to the call to help Jayden. He tells KSAL News that a date has not been set yet, but the band is planning a benefit concert for Jayden and her family.
According to Salina Arts and Humanities, 10,773 people passed through the gates Thursday night. It is the second highest attendance in the last four years.