Mark your calendars – it is officially fair season in the central San Joaquin Valley.
That means an influx of concert choices, so start planning.
Any day now, The Big Fresno Fair should be unveiling at least a partial lineup for its concert series, which runs Oct. 5-16.
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Michaels, known for his time in the ’80s hair band Poison and also his brand of home goods he sells on Overstock.com, stops at the fair Saturday, Sept. 10 on his “The Party Starts Now Tour.” Expect to hear the hits (“Every Rose Has Its Thorn”) plus new songs (“Girls on Bars”). Reserved seating is $25.
Joining Michaels on the fair lineup is ’80s Southern-rock arena band .38 Special, whose song “Hold On Loosely” was a No. 1 hit in 1981. The band plays Thursday, Sept. 8. Reserved tickets are $20. Country duo Montgomery Gentry plays Friday Sept. 9. Reserved seating is $25. The band’s latest album “Folks Like Us,” was released last June.
Tickets for all shows are on sale 10 a.m. Friday, July 1, at the Madera Fair Office, 1850 W. Cleveland Ave., by phone 866-973-9610 or online at maderafair.com. There is also the free option for these shows. Festival-style seating is available with fair admission.
California Mid-State Fair
Tickets are already on sale for the concerts at the California Mid-State Fair, which opens Wednesday, July 20, in Paso Robles. At least one of the concerts – country singer Blake Shelton – has already sold out. Shelton plays Saturday, July 23, at the Grandstand Arena.
He’s joined by a strong lineup of performers that are well worth the two-hour drive, even midweek.
▪ Fall Out Boy (Wednesday, July 20): This band is the best, according to the People’s Choice Awards, which in 2014 named it the Best Alternative Band. The emo pop-punkers were also given a similar honor at the American Music Awards in 2015. Tickets: $36-$81.
▪ Justin Moore (Thursday, July 21): The “How I Got To Be This Way” singer plays with Joe Nichols. Tickets: $26-$46.
▪ Fergie (Friday, July 22): The Black Eye Peas singer is back on stage as a solo act. Tickets: $36-$81.
▪ Tim McGraw (Sunday, July 24): According to Nielsen rankings, McGraw is the most-played country artist ever. He plays with country singer Brooke Eden. Tickets: $51-$101.
▪ Hollywood Vampires (Monday, July 25). The Alice Cooper-fronted supergroup features Aerosmith guitarist Joe Perry and actor Johnny Depp. That alone is worth the ticket price. The band plays Monday, July 25. Tickets: $36-$81.
▪ Don Henley (Tuesday, July 26): With the massive popularity of the Eagles, it’s easy to forget that Henley has had a huge career on his own. He did write “Boys of Summer,” after all. Tickets: $36-$86.
▪ Duran Duran (Wednesday, July 27): The band wrote “Hungry Like The Wolf” and “Rio” and “Girls On Film” and “Ordinary World.” Duran Duran is the definitive ’80s synth-pop band. Tickets: $41-$116.
▪ Kenny Wayne Shepard (Thursday, July 28): Shepard was 16 years old when he signed his first record deal. The guitarist is on the short list of prodigies who helped propel the blues genre forward in the past two decades. He’s joined by another guitarist on that list, Johnny Lang. Tickets: $26-$46.
▪ Brian Wilson (Friday, July 29): For some, Wilson is the only Beach Boy who mattered. Here, the musician celebrates the 50th anniversary of the Beach Boys album “Pet Sounds.” Wilson and his band, which features fellow Beach Boy Al Jardine, will play the album in its entirety. Tickets: $31-$61.
And, more ...
Also worth note is the Vina Robles Amphitheatre in Paso Robles. While not officially part of the “fair circuit,” the 3,300 seat outdoor venue is in the midst of its annual concert season, with weekend (and some midweek) concerts through October. The lineup is heavy on nostalgia (the Go-Gos, Cyndi Lauper, Vanilla Ice) and classic rock (Chicago, Steve Miller Band, Pete Frampton).
Particularly exciting: Boy George and Culture Club (Sat., Aug. 20), Amy Schumer (Thurs., Sept. 15) and the Monkees 50th Anniversary (Sat., Oct. 22).
A full list of concert dates and ticket prices can be seen at the amphitheater’s website at www.vinaroblesamphitheatre.com.