State fair concert lineup adds some hip-hop to familiar mix of classic rock, country and pop

Matt Sullivan
Flo Rida will perform at the Alaska State Fair Aug. 31 A.R. Kirzhner

Fair season is once again upon us, a magical time of carnival rides, fluffy animals, oversized gourds and deep-fried everything. And as hordes of Alaskans once again descend on Palmer for a dozen days at the end of summer, the Borealis Theatre will attract the biggest crowds at the Alaska State Fair. This year's concert lineup doesn't mess much with the familiar blend, offering a tried-and-true mix of classic rock, country and contemporary pop, though the organizers did double down on last year's surprising addition of hip-hop.

Here's a rundown of the sounds currently scheduled for the Borealis stage during this year's fair. (Note: Ticket prices do not include fair admission, which is also required to attend). 

KC and the Sunshine Band

With hits like “That's the Way (I Like It)” and “(Shake, Shake, Shake) Shake Your Booty,” KC and the Sunshine Band are responsible for some of the most recognizable songs in the disco canon.

Recommended if you like: Kool and the Gang, Village People

When: 7 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 21

Tickets: $30 lawn area, $45 reserved seating


The grungy South African modern-rock band just released its sixth album, “Isolate and Medicate,” while past records spawned hits like “Broken,” “Fake It” and “Country Song.”

Recommended if you like:​ Staind, Shinedown

When: 7 p.m. Friday, Aug. 22

Tickets: $30 lawn area, $55 reserved area

Thompson Square

The husband-and-wife duo of Keifer and Shawna Thompson has seen its star rise in recent years, riding a wave of country music success thanks to chart-toppers “Are You Gonna Kiss Me or Not” and “If I Didn't Have You.”

Recommended if you like:​ Love and Theft, The Band Perry

When: 7 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 23

Tickets: $35 lawn area, $55 reserved area

Bachman and Turner with Blue Oyster Cult

A couple of pillars in '70s hard rock join forces on Sunday. Bachman-Turner Overdrive's megahits “Takin' Care of Business” and “You Ain't Seen Nothing Yet” are probably playing somewhere on the radio dial right this second, and the pair behind those hits, Randy Bachman and Fred Turner, will be joined by the proto-metal band that brought us “Don't Fear the Reaper.”

Recommended if you like: Kansas, Foghat

When: 6 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 24

Tickets: $35 lawn area, $65 reserved seating

Michael W. Smith

With a career spanning three decades, Michael W. Smith is one of the most successful contemporary Christian artists of all time.

Recommended if you like: Amy Grant, Third Day

When: 7 p.m. Monday, Aug. 25

Tickets: $35 lawn area, $55 reserved seating


Though the band was contemporary with '80s hair metal, Tesla shared a bit more in common with '70s hard rock and blues-metal bands, famously covering “Signs” by the '70s rockers Five Man Electrical Band.

Recommended if you like:​ Ratt, Slaughter

When: 7 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 26

Tickets: $25 lawn area, $45 reserved seating

Brett Eldredge

Country music up-and-comer Brett Eldredge dabbles in the poppier side of twang, and that crossover appeal landed him on Taylor Swift's “Red” tour last year.

Recommended if you like:​ Luke Bryan, Randy Houser

When: 7 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 27

Tickets: $25 lawn area, $45 reserved area

The All-American Rejects

The long-running emo-pop outfit believes in the power of sugary hooks and big choruses, which helped the All-American Rejects find acceptance on modern-rock radio.

Recommended if you like:​ Yellowcard, Good Charlotte

When: 7 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 28

Tickets: $35 lawn area, $55 reserved area

Three Days Grace

Heavy alt-rock band Three Days Grace has released four albums since 2003, but the group's most recent single, “Painkiller,” is the first new song with vocalist Matt Walst after the departure of longtime singer Adam Gontier.

Recommended if you like:​ Shinedown, 3 Doors Down

When: 7 p.m. Friday, Aug. 29

Tickets: $35 lawn area, $55 reserved area

Duck Dynasty: An Evening with the Robertsons

The reality TV stars and recent political lightning rods will share insights into their family life and host a Q&A session with the audience. And there's the promise of “a little bit of down home musical entertainment.”

Recommended if you like: Beards

When: 7 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 30

Tickets: $35 lawn area, $70 reserved seating

Flo Rida

The rapper responsible for the hit "Low" shouldn't have many problems finding "boots with the fur" when he makes his trek to Alaska for what's probably the highest-profile concert of the fair.

Recommended if you like:​ Pitbull, LMFAO

When: 6 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 31

Tickets: $40 lawn area, $75 reserved area  


Winners of season three of NBC's “The Sing-Off,” the a cappella group Pentatonix will put a cap on this year's concert series.

Recommended if you like: “Glee,” Boyz II Men

When: 3 p.m. Monday, Sept. 1

Tickets: $25 lawn area, $45 reserved seating