This year, NC State Fair concerts all ‘homegrown’ – News & Observer

When the North Carolina State Fair released its 2015 concert lineup this past July, it took many fair-goers by surprise. In years past, visitors were likely to find household names scattered up and down the list, but this year the fair decided to go a different way, scheduling 11 days of music by acts with Tar Heel ties. The change was the result of necessity as much as inspiration.

“The changing landscape of concerts factored into our decision to revamp the nightly entertainment in Dorton Arena,” says Brian Long, Public Affairs Director for the N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. “The cost of headliners has increased, which is something that fairs across the country are encountering.

“Economically, concerts have become more challenging. If concerts were drawing people to the fair who otherwise might not come, that would be one thing. It no longer made the best business sense to continue offering the same entertainment as a matter of tradition.”

And so a new tradition is born. With help from talent booker Deep South Entertainment, a 20-year-old Raleigh company that has put on many music festivals throughout downtown Raleigh, more than 60 North Carolina musical acts will perform at the fair.

Among the local luminaries playing are country star Jason Michael Carroll on the 17th; a beach music bill featuring Band of Oz and the Embers on the 21st; and local indie-rock darlings The Love Language on the 23rd.

One of the acts eagerly awaiting a performance date is Kasey Tyndall. The Greenville native, now living in Nashville, has been serious about a musical career since the age of 10, and she views her upcoming spot opening for the Charlie Daniels band on Saturday, Oct. 24, as her biggest show to date. She says her immediate reaction to the news was “pure excitement.”

“Growing up listening to Charlie Daniels, the first thing I did when I found out about the show was to call Grandma,” Tyndall says. “The fact that the fair is all North Carolina acts makes it even better. I am friends with so many of the folks playing. It’s just really awesome for everyone to have a chance to showcase their talent on such a big platform.”

Tyndall’s biggest moment in the Triangle up until now is winning a contest on local FM country radio station 94.7 WQDR for a chance to perform a duet with Keith Urban during his concert at Walnut Creek. She understands that the fair may deliver a tough crowd. While tickets to the concert series will now be available for free to all fair-goers, there may still be some disappointment from those who once planned yearly trips to the fair to catch bigger performers who may skip the small towns.

“If you want to see artists that are from the same towns you are from, and whose songs will hit home a little harder due to having the same experiences you have had, you won’t regret coming to the shows,” Tyndall says.

Home Grown Concert Series

These are the shows in Dorton Arena, which all start at 7:30 p.m. For the full schedule, which includes the Waterfall Stage and the Bluegrass Stage, see All shows are free.

Thursday, Oct. 15: Firehouse with the Fifth

Friday, Oct. 16: The Great I Am

Saturday, Oct. 17: Jason Michael Carroll with Luke Combs and Stephanie Quayle

Sunday, Oct. 18: Orquesta GarDel

Monday, Oct. 19: Bollywood Night

Tuesday, Oct. 20: Black Sheep with Shadina

Wednesday, Oct. 21: Band of Oz and The Embers

Thursday, Oct. 22: A Night of Praise

Friday, Oct. 23: The Love Language with Spider Bags

Saturday, Oct. 24: The Charlie Daniels Band with Kasey Tyndall

Sunday, Oct. 25: Nantucket with Sidewinder