Welcome back, my friends, to another edition of Now Playing during the 2023 Illinois State Fair. We're in the throes of fair time as we roll through the final weekend of Grandstand shows, beer tent bands and wine experience experiences, along with many music-makers on permanent and portable stages, plus acts aplenty of cultural significance. Even more music lies beyond the grounds as our fair city reaches out to entertain the masses in captivating and abundant ways. Let's go see what there is to hear, shall we?
Hitting the fair first sounds fair to me and the Grandstand is still the big time with Tim McGraw and Landon Parker on Thursday, Chevelle and 10 Years on Friday, Maren Morris and Brittany Spencer on Saturday and Nelly with Ashanti and JaRule closing out things on Sunday. Please remember that your Grandstand ticket does not get you into the fair, so don't be surprised when you need to pay to get on the grounds. Also, if you want to shell out a bit more of your hard-earned bread, there's a Grandstand section called the Blue Ribbon Zone with high top tables and wait staff, as well as one called the Pre-Show Party. That allows early access to the track area along with other pre-show perks. Both are accessible to those of you willing to pay for the privilege.
You're on your own on other music happening since it is varied and in large amounts all over the grounds. The best bet is to go to the state fair website and look under the "entertainment" tab for the day you're going, then all the wonders of the fair world shall be displayed before you at each venue you choose to observe. Fair enough? I think so.
In other doings around town, let's head south and check out the annual Curve Inn celebration known as the Southside Fair. For years now, Springfield's "original roadhouse bar" has hosted live music during the fair with bands that aren't at the fair and also puts fair-style food and drinks on the menu. We've already run through one weekend of south-side shenanigans, so here's the lineup for what's left.
Thursday it's Lori Franke and Miles Station doing a variety of pop and country tunes with Friday showing Sleeping Dogzz playing classic rock at 6 p.m. and Broken Stone hitting with current rock at 8 p.m. Saturday gives us the impeccable sounds of Kapital Sound covering classic and current soul, while Sunday brings us the celebration of Rick Mari's 69th birthday (happy b-day, my friend) featuring none other than The Rick Mari Band, all played on the Ric Major-curated sound and light stage.
For a glance at what's going on Friday outside the fairgrounds, just so you know there's still stuff happening elsewhere, check this list out: Boone's and the Springfield Area Arts Council present Rudy Boz and Friends for the weekly Friday Night Jazz concert, Avery Kern sings up a storm at Bar Bella, Gracia Harrison travels to the Slauterhouse in Auburn, Thomas J Beverly lands at El Taco Guapo near Lake Springfield Marina, Voodoo Exiles whoop it up at the Main Gate across from the fair's main gate, Angel Brown's Smooth N' Blue Band rolls into Lime Street Cafe, X-Krush crushes it at the Anchor Boat Club, Harvest Market upstairs at the grocery store features Aubrey Reed and Weebles on the north side on Peoria Road goes to Roxschool. How about that for a bunch of more than fairly good music not at the fair, all just for you?
Until next week, fare-thee-well, fairgoers and others.