The open-date debate

Just before the July 4th holiday, we had everything prepared to release the concert lineup when we got back to work on Monday morning. But hours before our three-day vacation began, Assistant Fair Manager Mike Pleasant got a phone call from a booking agent telling him that the Zac Brown Band was pulling out of their date at the Fair…along with almost every other fair they had booked. No explanation was given.

Continue Reading

Behind the scenes with…Mike Pleasant, concert manager (Part 1)

The N.C. State Fair kicks off in a few months, but there’s a ton of preparation already in motion. We’ll bring you behind-the-scenes interviews with fairgrounds employees working to bring you “A Whole Lotta Happy” when the gates open Thursday, Oct. 15. We’re getting really close to announcing our 2009 Dorton Arena concert lineup (check back right here Monday, July 6, for the full scoop), so we wanted to check in with concert manager Mike Pleasant to see how he plans one of the Fair’s most popular attractions. The ’09 Fair will mark Mike’s 30th, and for eight of those…

Continue Reading

Artist Spotlight: Rodney Atkins

People.com wants to know: Who’s the hottest country star in a baseball cap? As of now, State Fair performer Rodney Atkins is leading Jason Aldean (who also rocked the Dorton Arena stage Friday night) and Luke Bryan with 53 percent of the votes. Or if you feel you need a better vantage point to truly make the right decision, tickets are still available for his Wednesday night show. Atkins, who has topped the charts with singles “These Are My People,” “Watching You,” “If You’re Going Through Hell” and “Cleaning This Gun,” has lived out his own country song. As a…

Continue Reading

Artist Spotlight: Mario

Mixing it up between the country and Christian artists at the Fair is Mario, the R&B singing/dancing sensation that you may know of from the show Dancing with the Stars. Above is a great interview from Go! TV (a play off of his last album Go!) with the singer and behind-the-scenes footage of his dance rehearsals. Mario has been around the music scene for awhile now, as his first album came out when he was only 15 years old. (When I was 15, I was Glenda the Good Witch in our high school version of the Wizard of Oz. Needless…

Continue Reading

Toby Mac takes the lead!

Yep, Christian hip-hop artist, Toby Mac, has taken the early lead, despite a url mix-up on the part of yours truly. (Sorry to anyone this morning who tried to link to Toby Mac or Jason Aldean tickets and ended up in the Josh Turner ticket bin instead. It was quickly remedied, but an embarrassing gaff on my part. I do apologize!) But back to Toby Mac tickets….there are still plenty of great seats left, but as of Day One, he’s sold the most tickets. The assistant fair manager isn’t surprised because he had a lot of excited people e-mailing him…

Continue Reading

Set the alarm!

Concert in Dorton Arena at 2007 N.C. State Fair Concert tickets go on sale tomorrow morning at 8 a.m., and as you know, the early bird gets the best seats! Here are some tips for a successful concert ticket purchase: Go to the State Fair’s web site a few minutes before 8 a.m. You can either go to the Tickets page and scroll to the bottom OR go to the Dorton Arena Nightly Entertainment page to buy tickets for a specific artist. When it gets close to 8 a.m., start refreshing your browser. You’ll see “Buy Now” buttons when it’s…

Continue Reading

One week from today!

Toby Mac Yep, tickets go on sale ONE WEEK from today. To get the best seats in the house, you’ll need to be at your computer bright and early as tickets will go on sale at 8 a.m. Word from the State Fairgrounds is that Toby Mac, Skillet/Leeland and Bobby Flay all are generating a lot of interest. Will we break last year’s record of five sold-out concerts? All the concert tickets will go on sale at the same time, except the Wednesday night mystery guest, which will go on sale in early September. Admission and ride vouchers will also…

Continue Reading

Mario on So You Think You Can Dance

I’m a self-professed country music-aholic, so I’m usually first in line for the Fair’s big name country acts like Josh Turner and Jason Aldean and up-and-comers like Lady Antebellum. So when last night’s So You Think You Can Dance featured a unique hip hop dance choreographed to Mario’s “Skippin” song, I had to reconsider my straight-country ticket. Although the two talented dancers who danced this “Frankenstein” inspired routine (check it out below!) will be on their own nationwide tour, you can catch Mario’s song live on the stage of Dorton Arena Thursday, October 23. Tickets go on sale at 8…

Continue Reading

To be announced

When we announced the concert lineup last week, we left two dates intentionally blank. This has created quite the stir among Dorton Arena concert lovers, who have had plenty of suggestions for who we should get to perform those nights. Sorry to disappoint, but we actually have artists booked for those nights, but are under contractual obligation to hold off on announcing those acts until a later date. For those of you who have weighed in, we can tell you a few people who are not filling those spots: Clay Aiken will not be at the Fair, Daughtry will not…

Continue Reading