Arts and Entertainment

A new music festival is coming to the fairgrounds in Palmer

A new, family-friendly music festival is making its debut on Memorial Day weekend at the Alaska State Fair grounds.

The Great Alaska Music Festival will bring together a mix of local and national talent, including headlining band the Chris Robinson Brotherhood. Robinson, who rose to rock 'n' roll fame as lead singer of The Black Crowes, is returning to Alaska after performing at The Sitzmark in March.

Also making the trip to Palmer is Asleep at the Wheel, a Grammy-winning eight-piece country rock band, progressive bluegrass act Yonder Mountain String Band, famed jam group the Kyle Hollingsworth Band and Alaska-born, Washington, D.C.-based Frank Solivan accompanied by the Dirty Kitchen.

"Our mission from the beginning was to blend national acts with Alaska talent to really celebrate what makes Alaska music unique," said Ted Tilton, co-director of the festival.

Representing the Alaska music scene are the Super Saturated Sugar Strings, performers from the musical storytelling group Parlor in the Round, Girdwood's teenage singer-songwriter sensation Ava Earl and others.  Local artists will all join together on Saturday for a "superjam," a freewheeling, collaborative musical freestyle performance.

Music isn't the only thing on the schedule for the festival. A "children's forest" will be on site, with a chalk art zone, climbing walls and sumo suits. Food and art vendors will set up shop all over the fairgrounds and there will be a kite flying exhibition, performances by aerial silk experts Cirque Boreal, fire dancers, live stage painters, yoga classes for both adults and kids, onsite massage therapists and more.

"It's like you're going to Disney World," said Skip Lichter, co-director of the festival.


Great Alaska Music Festival

When: Saturday and Sunday, May 26-27

Where: Alaska State Fairgrounds, Palmer

How much: Tickets range from $70-$140 for day passes and $135-$243 for two-day passes. Children 12 and under are free with a paying adult. For more details, see