SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – A stellar Grandstand entertainment line-up is being assembled for the 2013 Illinois State Fair. State Fair Manager Amy Bliefnick today announced additional concert bookings for the August festival, including performances by The Band Perry, Billy Currington, Gary Allan, Thompson Square, Styx and REO Speedwagon.
“The progress that has been made is exciting,” Bliefnick said. “Coupled with the previously announced booking of country superstar Toby Keith and the return of the Million Dollar Quartet, we are well on the way to delivering the kind of top-notch entertainment that fairgoers have come to expect.”
Currington, a country singer and songwriter, has ten Top 10 hits to his credit, including six number ones. His signature song, “People Are Crazy,” earned him Grammy nominations in 2010 for Best Male Country Vocal Performance and Best Country Song. He will open the Grandstand entertainment Aug. 9.
The Aug. 10 show will feature Illinois-based classic rock as Styx, REO Speedwagon and Head East share the stage. Styx, which got its start in Chicago, was the first band to ever release four consecutive multi-platinum albums. It is best known for such rock standards as “Come Sail Away,” “Renegade,” “Blue Collar Man” and “Fooling Yourself.” REO Speedwagon has sold more than 40 million albums and recorded 13 Top-40 singles in its illustrious career. Like Head East, which gained notoriety in the 1970s with the release of the hit single “Never Been Any Reason,” the group hails from Champaign.
The cast of Million Dollar Quartet will give a free concert Monday, Aug. 12. The musical, which currently is running at the Apollo Theater in Chicago, was inspired by the famed 1956 recording session that brought together rock 'n' roll icons Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis and Carl Perkins for the first and only time. New Odyssey, a talented trio that plays 30 different instruments during its show, will open for the Million Dollar Quartet.
The Band Perry, comprised of siblings Kimberly, Neil and Reid Perry, will perform Aug. 13. Their self-titled, platinum, debut album charted five hits, including the number one singles “All Your Life” and “If I Die Young. “Better Dig Two,” the first single off the group’s soon-to-be-released sophomore CD, has soared to the top of the charts as well, giving the red-hot band three number one singles in just two years.
Acclaimed country artist Gary Allan and Thompson Square, the Academy of Country Music’s reigning Top Vocal Duo, will headline a concert Aug. 16 that also features rising stars Frankie Ballard, The Farm and Brushfire. Allan, whose 17-year recording career has produced four gold and three platinum albums, just recently charted his fourth number one hit, “Every Storm (Runs Out of Rain).” The song is the first single on his new album, “Set You Free.” Thompson Square also has a single racing up the charts. “If I Didn’t Have You” is the initial release off the duo’s second album, “Just Feels Good.” Thompson Square is best known for its number one smash “Are You Gonna Kiss Me or Not.”
The new concert bookings were announced during a preview party on the fairgrounds to begin a six-month countdown to the fair. The event also included the unveiling of the 2013 Illinois State Fair theme, “Where Illinois Comes Together.”
“‘Where Illinois Comes Together’ captures the essence of the fair perfectly,” Agriculture Director Bob Flider said. “The Illinois State Fair is a wonderful celebration of our state’s people, culture and agricultural heritage, and for 160 years Illinoisans from all walks of life have come together to demonstrate their talents, exhibit the products of their hard work and, of course, enjoy the fair’s attractions and family entertainment.”
The 2013 fair will begin Thursday, Aug. 8, and continue through Sunday, Aug. 18. Tickets for the Aug. 14 Toby Keith concert will go on sale Saturday, Feb. 9, beginning at 10 a.m. They can be purchased online at Ticketmaster.com, by calling 1-800-745-3000 or by visiting any Ticketmaster outlet. Sales dates for the other shows will be announced soon.