first published in the Broad Ripple Gazette
Year of Pigs
Indiana State Fair
August 6 – 22, 2010
State Fair Grounds
1202 E. 38th Street
It’s here! It’s here! The State Fair is finally here. Last year I managed to make to the Fair all 17 days, but I’m not sure I can pull that off this year, but I’m going to do my darndest. Oh, and I’m doing something beyond my wildest dreams and playing (I’m taking great artistic license with that term) at the Fair on Tuesday, August 10 – details below.
You can find free entertainment (with Fair admission) on just about every stop on the tractor tram. I’m particularly fond Pioneer Village, on the northeast side of the Fairgrounds. Pioneer Village is chockfull of demonstrations, music and vintage tractors.
There are two stages in Pioneer Village, one in on the north side of the exhibition barn and the other next door in the Opera House. You can’t go wrong with any of the shows – grab a lemon shake-up and take a rest on the old church pews in front of the stage at PV building or the great old wooden folding chairs at the Opera House.
The Pioneer Village exhibition hall stage starts at 10:00 each morning and goes on the road for tractor parade at 6:00 and the entertainment starts back at 6:30. The entertainment on this stage leans toward old-timey, bluegrass, jug, blues or folk bands and storytellers.
I wish I had enough room to write about all of the great acts, but here is an attempt to highlight as many as possible.
Friday, August 6 – Opening day kicks off with Family Reunion String Band, Sensible Shoes and Bill Bailey. Remember Bill’s name – you’ll want to be sure and meet him and he can give you a full entertainment schedule. Most likely he’ll be wearing overalls – and to narrow it down from the hundreds of men wearing overall at the Fair – a washboard with plenty of bells and whistles. Tell him I sent you!
Saturday, August 7 – I would camp-out at the stage all day if I could. The folk band, Blackberry Jam kicks off the day. Indiana Storyteller, Sue Grizzell takes the stage at 1:45, and front porch blues band, Yank Rachell Tribute Blues Band plays at 3:00. Western swing band, Witch Hazel Valley People, includes one of my favorite people ever – Robin Harrison, starts at 6:30.
Sunday, August 8 – I think you can count sitting on the pews in front of this stage as church on this day.– Family Reunion String Band will feature a gospel sing along starting at 10:00, Common Ground features traditional bluegrass and gospel, and Sacred Harp is old-time shape note gospel (I’ll admit to having absolutely no idea what that means, but I’m looking forward to finding out!).
Monday, August 9 – The line up appears to be all traditional American music. Jo and Patt Loo, Rebecca and Michel Lindsey with Cosmo the Washboard – I wonder if this will be like cosmo bowling, the lights are off of the washboard glows in the dark – and Myra Dworski and friends.
Tuesday, August 10 – The day I’ve had butterflies about ever since Cara Jean Wahlers floated the idea of an all-woman jug band. Alice Chalmers and the Stick a Cork in Your Jug Band is made up of five very talented musicians – Cara, Stasia Demos, Jude Odell, Holly Smith, Joni Back-Bubenzer – one budding musician, Tammy Lieber (former Gazette columnist, Tammy’s Take) and me, playing the typewriter. I’m just happy these women even let me sit in the same room with them, let alone on stage. The music is good-time jug band fun, except for the lonesome songs, of course. Our time slot is from 10:00 – noon and will be radio variety show-style, the band will play and some off-shoots of the group and solo shows. It promises to be fun and highly-entertaining. I’ll be the one behind the typewriter, trying not the faint, and concentrating on my favorite key, G. The rest of the day features Blue Stone Folk School musicians and dulcimer and ukulele musicians. Look for Geoff Davis, John Kay and friends and Third Satchel Novelty Jazz Orchestra to round out the day.
Wednesday, August 11 – Mac Bellner and friends – traditional American ballads and music and Governor Davis and Steve Robbins – traditional American blues will be featured.
Thursday, August 12 – Old-time music fun group, The Fret Set will be taking over the stage.
Friday, August 13 – Nothing scary about this Friday the 13th, at least on this stage. The day will be shared by The Johnson County Country Folk Music Society and the Sly Run Band. Both feature old-time music.
Saturday, August 14 – Family Reunion String Band has been the “house band,” or should we say, “barn band” for the last 35 years. The will have special guests, Half Way Home Band play at noon. There will be a James Whitcomb Riley tribute by Henry Ryder at 1:30. The National Barn Dance Tribute cast will also perform on this stage.
Sunday, August 15 – Gospel sing by the Family Reunion String Band in the morning, Dave Schroeder and friends will play yummy traditional bluegrass in the afternoon and Rhythm Wreckers will round out the day.
Monday, August 16 -- Mac Bellner and friends – traditional American music peppered with beautiful ballads in the morning and Lloyd Wood Band will play nostalgic country music in the afternoon.
Tuesday, August 17 -- The Lathen’s will play Celtic infused old-time music in the morning and the Last Drop Jug Band will play always-fun 30s and 40s music.
Wednesday, August 18 -- Barnstormin’ Bluegrass Band a family-style serving of traditional bluegrass and gospel. The Grimes Girls will be strolling in the village playing fun old-time music through out the day, be sure and wave! The afternoon will feature The Dulcimer Gathering playing, I’m going out on a limb here, but I’m guessing, dulcimers.
Thursday, August 19 – Don’t fret, The Fret Set is taking over the stage for the day. Fun old-time music will be ready and waiting for you.
Friday, August 20 – Guitars for Lunch sounds like my kind of Fair food. They play Indiana rural music. Promises to be fun! My favorites, the Witch Hazel Valley People will be dishing out their western swing for an afternoon snack. Last Drop Jug Band will serve up a heap of 30s and 40s fun for suppertime.
Saturday, August 21 – The stage is stuffed with great entertainment, Family Reunion String Band will kick-off the morning. D. Mark and Jules will be strolling through the village, Indiana Storyteller Gladis Allen takes the stage at 1:30, folk band, Blackberry Jam plays after that and the Rhythm Wreckers round out the evening with their jug and blues music.
Sunday, August 22 – Last day of the Fair. Sniff. The Family Reunion String Band will host the gospel sing-along in the morning and the Evening Light Gospel Singers play traditional bluegrass and gospel in the afternoon.
The Opera House venue will host the WLS National Barn Dance Tribute Show for two shows on Saturday, August 14 – 3:00 and 7:00 and one on Sunday, August 15 at 7:00 pm. Be in your seats fifteen minutes early for some pre-show fun. You can catch the dress rehearsal Thursday, August 12 – 7:00 pm.
The Opera House will also host Cary Allen Fields’ Bluegrass in the Opera House on Friday, August 13 from 7:00 – 10 pm. This promises to be an insightful and delightful peek in the best of Indiana bluegrass.
My dad tells stories about the year his brother Joe competed in the State Fair sheep shearing contest. Pop in on Sunday, August 15 between 9:00 – 4:00 for the Sheep to Shaw contest. My guess is that there will be some champion shearing and spinning going on.
Rich Lives, a play about early Hoosier homemakers is being staged on Monday, August 16 and Tuesday, August 17, (9:00 am, 3:00 pm and 7:00pm)
You will also find tractor and toy shows, cloggers, Celtic music, auctions and an ice cream cranking contest in this building at various times.
Thursday, August 12
Hoosier Lottery Grandstand
7:00, free show
I would like to thank the Hoosier Lottery for bring Rick Springfield to the Fair for a free show (with Fair admission). I imagine the crowd will be heavily populated with women. Rick is a pop musician with soap opera good looks – he played Dr. Noah Drake on General Hospital and oozing with charm. I’m really looking forward to the concert. Now that I’ve seen him in the buff on the Showtime show, Californication, I’m not sure I’ll be able to look at him without blushing. Heck, I’m not sure I couldn’t have looking at him without blushing before that anyway.
Saturday, August 14, 2010
2535 S. Meridian Street
8:00 pm, 21 +
Do you need a little break from the State Fair? Even if you don’t, I suggest that you high-tail it to this show. The fabulously talented Stanley Smith will be in Indianapolis visiting from his adopted town of Austin, TX. I had a chance to see him perform with his group, The Jazz Pharaohs, when I was in Austin last fall and I was blown away by how amazing they were and effortless they made it seems.
The Strugglers are part of Indianapolis music history. They played from 1970 until Stanley moved away in 1985. They played the Vogue the first weekend it was a music venue, they were on the bill for weeks at a time at Crazy Al’s, the Hummingbird and the Patio. Band member, Scott Ballantine swears they invented ‘newgrass’ – progressive bluegrass and that Sam Bush stole it from them. Look for them to play a mixture of Chicago blues, Western swing, old country tunes and some jazz.
All of the original-ish band members will be there – Stanley (clarinet/vocals), Scott (guitar), Jack Clarke (harmonica), Kevin Hughey (drums), Dave Langfitt (pedal steel) and Joe Langfitt (bass).
A good time is guaranteed!