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.

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State Fair Press Conference: Concert lineup announced

Brian Long, director of the State Fair Press Office, held a press conference today in the Bearded Lady’s office (aka the intern’s office) to announce the 2009 State Fair concert lineup. Check out the video to see who’s going to be playing in Dorton Arena. Note: If video doesn’t appear, try refreshing your browser. I hope you noticed from the video that all concerts are priced at either $5, $10 or $15. You may have also noticed that we skipped Thursday, Oct. 22.  One of the bands pulled out of its contract with the Fair late last week, and we…

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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…

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Busy, fun weekend planned at the State Fairgrounds

It’s gonna be a full house at the State Fairgrounds this weekend, with plenty for everyone in the family to find something to do. Let’s take a quick trip around the Fairgrounds to get a feel for what’s going on. Or if you want, download a map from the Got to Be NC Festival Web site.  (Dates and times vary, so visit the respective Web sites to double check times.) Here’s your all-encompassing list for this weekend’s events: NC Pig Jig / Mason’s BBQ Cooking Championship (Sat)  – beside the Expo Center Teams of Masons will have cooked whole pigs,…

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Panheads Unite!

Any Panheads out there?! A Panhead is a fan of the Rock/Christian band, Skillet, a foursome that blends a positive, inspirational message with “classic rock riffs, swirling drums, monsterous hooks and undeniably catchy choruses,” according to their Web site. Panheads can catch their favorite band on Friday night in Dorton Arena, along with another Christian band Leeland. And best of all, the concert is only $8 and there are plenty of seats left for those of you who have procrastinated in getting tickets. Tickets can be purchased online or at the Dorton Arena box office. A visit to Skillet’s Web…

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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…

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Toby Mac sells out!

State Fair visitors love them some Toby Mac, because the show is officially a sell-out. Tonight’s show will be a packed house, so everyone who scored one of these precious tickets should have a rockin’ good time.

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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…

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Entertainment Spotlight: King of the Grill

Commemorative program When Bobby Flay steps onto the stage in Dorton Arena on Oct. 20, he’ll be stepping onto a backyard paradise – or at least as much semblance of a backyard paradise as fair workers can manage between the time Lady Antebellum and Heidi Newfield pull away from the fairgrounds on Sunday night and the time the doors open for the Bobby Flay cooking show on Monday night. It’s no surprise that the star of Grill It with Bobby Flay and Showdown with Bobby Flay would ask for a backyard setting for a cooking demonstration. But the Mesa Grill…

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