This year’s state fair promises the usual smattering of caramel apples, rickety rides and high-pressure carnies, but it’s also chock-full of musical talent.
For starters, American Idol winner and Country Billboard Chart mainstay Carrie Underwood will charm the pants off the crowd at Tingley Coliseum on Friday, Sept. 8.
If Underwood’s sweeter-than-sugar face still conjures up images of a Simon Cowell scowl for some, there’s the spectacular Sept. 9 show at Tingley featuring longtime Latin all-stars (and Grammy Award winners) Los Lobos and Ozomatli.
For those who enjoy a little bull riding with their concerts, the fair will feature several stellar country artists that will take part in the annual Rodeo Concert series at Tingley Coliseum. Included in the hodgepodge of old favorties and up-and-comers is Little Big Town, Tracey Lawrence, Miranda Lambert, Jason Aldean, Keith Anderson, Lorrie Morgan and Craig Morgan. The Rodeo Concert series kicks off on Thursday, Sept. 14, and ends with a mystery show on Sunday, Sept. 24.
Finally, the Ford Pavilion will give those with more eclectic tastes (and perhaps skinnier wallets) a chance to enjoy a menagerie of local and national acts from every major genre.
Friday, Sept. 8, starts off with New Mexico’s own American Idol competition from 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Finalists from the competition will be flown to perform in front of the real Idol panel of judges in another state.
Saturday, Sept. 9, is Hispanic Heritage Day and the Pavilion will host a performance by young, local metal act Axson and a tribute to ’80s metal gods Poison.
On Sunday, Sept. 10, the Pavilion will feature a slew of local solo artists including Nick Norris, Danny Trujillo, Megan White and Jimmy James Haynes.
Tuesday, Sept. 12, is Hip-Hop Culture Day, which will include beatbox and break dance battles as well as an emcee showcase. DJ Kayote will spin from 1 to 11 p.m.
Thursday, Sept. 14, is Law Enforcement Day at the Fair but could easily be called neo-metal day at the Pavilion. Cold Snap, Nobles of Note and Arizona’s Evolocity fill out the bill.
Saturday, Sept. 16, is the New Mexico Music Showcase. The talent competition will feature local bands of the folk, Americana, jazz, blues and rock persuasions. The night concludes with a show by last year’s rock division winners, Old Man Shattered.
Sunday, Sept. 17, is reserved exclusively for blues and will include performances by 3 Quarter Brown, The Roger Lewis Blues Band and the Rudy Boy Experiment.
Tuesday, Sept. 19, and Thursday, Sept. 21, are relatively uneventful save for 9 p.m. performances by superb pop-indie outfits Lousy Robot on Tuesday and The Hot IQ’s on Thursday.
Friday, Sept. 22, will feature performances by The Keys Band and Shelley Barrett, as well as sets by funky rock squad The Ya Ya Boom Project, indie pop purveyors The Giranimals and pop punkers The Hollis Wake.
Sunday, Sept. 24, will close out the fair with performances by Albuquerque’s own The Ground Beneath and surf rockers The Chill.