It’s State Fair Concert Season, Here’s Who’s Already Booked In IL and Iowa
Can you believe there are already state fairs announcing who's playing their grandstand shows this year?
Seems kind of early, yet the Iowa State Fair and Illinois State Fair are rolling out their concert lineups for the 2023 fair season. So that means it's time to play our favorite game, who'll show up to play at the Missouri State Fair.
I guarantee you, the staff responsible for booking the Missouri State Fair hates me this time of year. If they could shush me up for a couple of months they probably would. I'm half kidding when I say stuff like this.
In all seriousness, I give our fair bookers mad props because they have to take into account: Whose coming to the fair, and what do they want to see? What demographics of fairgoers will pony up the dough to see a show? Can they afford to book an artist, and still make a little dough from ticket sales? Will people show up for a specific artist on a specific night if they book it? Not to mention, just how much are people willing to pony up for a concert ticket?
For example, at last year's Missouri State Fair, both Tesla and ZZ Top performed. ZZ Top was on a Wednesday night and attendance was disappointing. Many I heard from said they would have gone if it was a Friday or Saturday night. Tesla drew about what I would expect for a headline show on a Friday, I think they would have done just as well on a Wednesday. Would the fair have done better if they flipped those two shows? Who knows? I don't. Could the fair have booked both those shows with ZZ Top on a Friday and Tesla on Wednesday? I don't know.
Yet I suspect that's a discussion that's been had, or the staff is having as they try to plot out a fair concert schedule that satisfies as many fairgoers as possible. Keeps the lineup fresh. And tickets that are affordable for most people going to the fair that want to see a concert.
You've heard me yammer about this stuff every year. I mention it every year because while we'd all love the hottest acts on stage, and acts that appeal to teens and young adults, middle-aged folks, older folks, rockers, country fans, nostalgia fans, and everything in between it's hard to make that happen.
Frankly, with how lightly attended some of the shows last year were. I wouldn't blame the Fair if they booked a steady diet of Country artists, one good for all time zones classic rock band, and one Christian artist, and called it a fair lineup. I hope they don't, I hope they continue to try different genres and artists, but I could see them trying to stick with what puts butts in seats this year.
So who's already been announced for the Iowa and Illinois State Fairs?
Iowa State Fair 2023 Line Up So Far
- Thursday, August 10 - For King and Country with Special Guest We The Kingdom. Tickets range from $25 -$55 dollars.
- Friday, August 11 - Tyler Hubbard of Florida Georgia Line with Special Guest Parmalee. Tickets range from $25 - $55 dollars.
- Sunday, August 13 - Eric Church with Special Guest Jackson Dean. Tickets range from $60 - $125 dollars.
- Saturday, August 19 - The Chicks with Special Guest Ben Harper. Tickets range from $60 - $125 dollars.
Iowa State Fair Concert Tickets, do not include Fair Admission Tickets.
Illinois State Fair 2023 Line Up So Far
- Thursday, August 15 - REO Speedwagon with Special Guest TBA. Tickets range from $33 - $45 dollars.
- Sunday, August 19 - Maren Morris with Special Guest TBA. Tickets range from $50 - $68 dollars. There is also an offering to attend a pre-show party for $30 or be in the Blue Ribbon Zone for $123 dollars. The Blue Ribbon Zone is a seating area that includes high-top tables, bar stools, and service from the wait staff. It doesn't include the cocktails, you have to buy those.
Illinois State Fair Concert Tickets, do not include Fair Admission Tickets.
I think almost all of these artists, with the exception of The Chicks, would do well for our state fair. I'd be hesitant that too many fairgoers would remember The Chicks' politics and stay away from that show, so I'd take a pass on that one. Not to mention the high ticket prices, which might nix Eric Church as well.
That said, Tyler Hubbard, Maren Morris, and REO Speedwagon seem like they'd all work. For King and Country too, although they played the Fair in 2017 and 2019.
Finally, if anyone from the fair reads this, look into Belinda Carlisle for me. She's touring this summer and I think she'd make the perfect headliner for a midweek show if you could pair her with another 80s or early 90s act or two. Just a fun breezy classic hits show perfect for a late August evening in Missouri.