How Jimmie Allen Honors His Family's Legacy With Hometown Music Festival

As part of E!’s Backstage Pass, country music singer Jimmie Allen shared the special meaning behind Delaware’s annual Bettie James Fest.

By Mike Vulpo Aug 19, 2022 1:00 PMTags

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Jimmie Allen will never forget where he came from.

Before hitting No. 1 on the country music charts with hits like "Make Me Want To" and "Freedom Was a Highway," the 37-year-old was just a kid in Delaware discovering the beauty of a small town.

"There's a lot I remember about my hometown," Jimmie exclusively shared with E! News. "I remember developing my faith in church. I remember my teachers including my first grade teacher and my kindergarten teacher Miss Alexander. I remember hanging out with my dad and my grandma fishing. It's just a good town vibe."

Musicians Performing Live on Stage

But along the way, Jimmie began to fall in love music as his dad, James "Big Jim" Allen, blasted country music and his grandmother, Bettie Snead, played Christian hits. While both family members have since passed away, Jimmie says his memories with them are part of the inspiration behind the Bettie James Fest, which he created.

Peyton Dollar

Held at Hudson Fields in Jimmie's hometown of Milton, Del., the multi-genre festival aims to highlight local businesses, charities and artists. And on Aug. 13, Jimmie headlined the sold-out event with a heartfelt show. 

"I think they are proud; I hope they are," he said about his family. "I always wanted to leave a legacy that they can be proud of and a legacy that my children can walk into without embarrassment." 

But perhaps the best is yet to come. This fall, Jimmie will hit the road and open up for Carrie Underwood on her Denim & Rhinestones tour. As a longtime fan of the American Idol winner, Jimmie was just a little excited when he got the call to tour with her.

Peyton Dollar

"It was one of the coolest moments I've experienced in my career," he said. "She's a powerhouse vocalist. I'm looking forward to going out, hopefully doing her justice and getting the crowd hyped for her."

Until then, Jimmie is giving E! News an exclusive look behind-the-scenes of the second annual Bettie James Fest. Keep scrolling to see how he pulled off a special event.

No Place Like Home

On Aug. 13, Jimmie Allen headlined Bettie James Fest in Milton, Del. "It's just a big morale boost for that part of Delaware," Jimmie said about his hometown concert event. "We never really get any action down there for concerts." 

Small Business Support

As part of Bettie James Fest, various companies from Delaware, including DEL Made Apparel, are able to showcase their products. "It's a brand I have with my friends Travis Nichols and Bryan Sears," Jimmie said. "DEL Made is just about being proud of where you come from. It goes beyond Delaware. It's fun to see people not from Delaware wearing it."

Hometown Reunion

You just never know who you may run into at Bettie James Fest. "We had a lot of people from my hometown who I grew up with or went to high school with come," Jimmie shared. "That's always the coolest part when you have people that you grew up with that support. They don't just ask for stuff for free. They show up, they buy the merch. It's always a great time every time I go back to Delaware." 

All Are Welcome

Lucky concertgoers were able to experience a wide variety of artists during the festival. "This year, we had local guys like Derrick Daisey and George Downing," Jimmie recalled. "We also brought in We The Kings and Lainey Wilson…It may be a small town but we listen to everything."

Best Dressed

When it comes to performing live, Jimmie wants to look his best. "I'm into leather right now. Leather is my thing," he shared. "I was hoping it would cool off that day so I could wear it and sure enough it did."

Live It Up

No matter where you see Jimmie perform live, the artist has one big goal. "I hope [fans] experience relief and a weight off their shoulders," he said. "I hope they leave better people than how they came in and more motivated, more willing to love themselves and love everyone around them."

Welcome Home

"At my concerts, I want to provide that place of freedom when people can get away from whatever has been driving them insane that whole week," Jimmie said. "This is one place they can come and reset."

Want more backstage access? Go inside Florida Georgia Line's final shows before Brian Kelley and Tyler Hubbard's next chapters begin. Plus, here's why Ingrid Andress' invitation to Keith Urban's tour came right on time.

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