It's that time of the year again: State Fair time. What's not to like? It provides three weeks of opportunities for Valley folks of every variety to congregate and yuck it up within the confines of the Arizona State Fairgrounds, get their fill of uncomfortable white-knuckle-inspiring rides, fried food that attempts to top itself in grossness every year, and plenty of special events. This year, things got a little extra-geeky with the inclusion of the touring Star Trek exhibition. Plus, a big bonus: It signifies an end to a summer that always that stretches well past its welcome.
But for those about to rock, it is all about the concerts. A slew of musical acts take the stage during the Fair's span to entertain you FOR FUCKING FREE with the price of your fair admission -- man, it just gets better and better. You can purchase tickets for some of the concerts for "better seating" within the Veterans Memorial Coliseum, if you want a more close up view of Megadeth or Billy Currington (who?!). This fairgoer says save your dollars, win some stuffed shit or eat some gooey insect on a stick.
Megadeth and that other dude are just two of the acts on this year's bill. The annual goal, it seems, is to offer a little something for everyone. If blues-y rock and big beards is your thing, ZZ Top's got your name written all over it. '70s rockers Cheap Trick never seem to tire and will be part of the lineup as one stop on their current tour. Country fans will probably get pretty jazzed up about Trace Adkins.
But if you want to make a spectator sport of watching teens go crazy over yet another dance-y boy band, be there for The Wanted, a group of fellas from England and Ireland in their early 20s who like to dance and take pride in not synchronizing all their dance moves. They let it happen "organically." Dance on with your natural moves, boys.
Rapper Snoop Lion, who is being billed as Snoop Dogg AKA Snoop Lion (Lose the AKA, I think we already caught on) will grace the stage with his smooth lyrical delivery. For those who like their hip-hop to go even further back, the Fair presents the return of Old School Jam -- a yearly happening that brings together some of the genre's seminal acts. This year it's pretty righteous with Sugarhill Gang, Rob Base, and Zapp, to name a few.
It was particularly exciting when a friend thought Jerry Lee Lewis was one of the performers this year. Turns out, even more improbably, that it's Jerry Lewis, sans the 'Lee'--the legendary comedian and kinda surly telethon host. So if that's what gives you a few chuckles, there's your State Fair comedy fix, right there. The roster even has some royalty, with Prince Royce taking a night.
Alabama Shakes, Roger Clyne and the Peacemakers, KIDZ BOP KIDS, and Zendaya round out the list. Surely, you can find a little fun somewhere in that mix.
Whatever finally convinces you to take in a show, just get over there and have a damn good time. The fair is special--it makes us nostalgic, it's ridiculous in all the good ways, it's comfortable and familiar. Even with different programming, each year sort of feels just like every one that came before. It's like hugging a big cuddly stray dog -- and maybe ending up getting a tetanus shot at the end.
Who are you looking forward to seeing at this year's fair? Who would you just as soon skip? Let us know in the comments.
Keep Phoenix New Times Free... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Phoenix with no paywalls.