While it may feel like the all-too-short summer months are rapidly slipping away, that also means its once again time for our cities biggest and best celebration of the year, the Minnesota State Fair. I of course am focused on how big a piece music plays in this massive offering and am once again impressed by the range of talent they’ve managed to assemble (100+ acts over a course of 12 days = a guaranteed little something for everyone).

The Grandstand lineup https://www.mnstatefair.org/grandstand/ may get the most attention with well-established names (I’m looking forward to Dierks Bentley, Brandi Carlile, Hall & Oates, Lionel Richie, Weird Al Yankovic and ZZ Top), but I challenge you to dig a little deeper to find a bunch of hidden gems that will be happening all throughout the fairgrounds on the smaller stages, which also happen to be free.  https://www.mnstatefair.org/free-live-music-and-shows/

The Leinie Lodge Bandshell is a great option and I recommend checking into Belinda Carlisle, Lonestar, Tony! Toni! Tone!, One Night of Queen, Dessa, The BB King Blues Band and Mac MacAnally.

Shell’s Stage at Schilling Amphitheater provides a great sampling of local talent with Nooky Jones, Pert Near Sandstone, Jaedyn James and the Hunger, Sarah Morris, Joyann Parker and a First Avenue sponsored show featuring Brother Ali, Dem Atlas, Har Mar Superstar, Mark Mallman and many more.

Also don’t overlook the International Bazaar Stage where Kat Perkins will be a guaranteed standout.

I sincerely hope you are planning to spend some time at the “Great Minnesota Get-together” for 2019 and I encourage you to spend a few minutes planning out what music you can catch to enrich your overall experience.

Patrick Dunn

photo Kyle Hansen