Boats at anchor

Boats lay at anchor near the Ned McWherter Bridge Saturday night as boaters wait for Big & Rich to take the stage at the Tennessee River Jam.

Now that the 2022 Tennessee River Jam is in the books, the staff at the Paris-Henry County Chamber of Commerce has begun to take stock about how this year’s event went, and how they can make next year’s Jam better.

When the first Jam made its debut in 2019, it drew 8,500 people. Its successor in 2021 brought in more than 10,000.

This year looks like it will beat those numbers handily.

Travis McLeese, Chamber CEO, said they were still crunching the numbers on how many people attended this year’s Jam.

“There’s a lot of data that we’re trying to manage,” he said. “So I would hate to put a number out and it’d be wrong. We try to be as accurate as possible when we release that.”

That said, he felt confident that numbers would be up from last year’s total.

“I know we had more boats this year,” he said. “We had more people on land at the state park, and I know a lot of our venues were at capacity.”

And many of the performances drew rave reviews.

“Almost Famous that played at Eiffel Tower Park will definitely be invited back next year...that was a very popular concert,” McLeese said. “The event for Darryl Worley on Sunday night raised over $25,000 for his foundation.”

But the festival’s rapid growth since 2019 have revealed some things that need to be fixed, he said,

“Obviously this event has grown much faster than we could have ever expected,” he said. “And that has created quite a few bumps in the road. So now it’s just our job to go in and try to level those bumps as smooth as we possibly can.”

He and his staff were already working on a list of things that needed attention before next year’s Jam.

“That’s the reason why we’ve grown and had the success we’ve had,” he said. “I feel like we do a good job of taking that feedback, and in the areas that we can fix, we fix it.”

For now, though, the chamber staff is hard at work on the next big event of the summer, the PBR in Paris event with Cody Nance on July 1-2.

“We’ve been working on that pretty much nonstop, but we’re excited,” he said. “We’ve got a three-time world champion coming. We’ve got our rookie of the year coming. And we’ve got Cody Nance riding his 300th bull on the Elite Tour right here.”

More information about the event will be released soon.

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