This year is no exception, with acts like Journey, Brad Paisley, Paul Rodgers and Earth, Wind & Fire set to perform. But going to a concert at the fair is clearly different than other venues. So here are a few things to keep in mind:
1.) Get there early. When I went to see Aerosmith a few years ago, we arrived during the opening act — which, you’d figure, would allow plenty of time. But with a mass of people clogging the entrance, it took forever to get in.
2.) Know your parking situation. If you don’t pay to park — and, really, why should you? — you have two options: Park in town and take a bus or try to find a free spot as close to the fairgrounds as you can. But while it’s easy getting a bus to the fairgrounds, it’s misery trying to get one back — and you’re likely to have some obnoxious drunk sitting ontop of you. If you’re willing to walk a bit, parking a ways a way is your best bet. Just make sure you remember where you are — and that things look a lot different at night.
3.) Yes, those are cows. As soon as you enter the main stage, you’ll be reminded that this is a fair concert. But it is kind of cool seeing the Ferris wheel all lit up at night, providing a nice backdrop not far from the stage.
4.) Crowd watching is fun. Don’t sweat about getting there too early. Because watching the people in the crowd is almost as fun as the show itself.
5.) Don’t do anything stupid. After all, everyone can take videos on their phone, and you don’t want to wind up on YouTube, like this SLO County resident.
6.) Yes, that is the smell of weed. It may not be the 60s, man, but people still do light up at concerts. If you don’t like it, at least it masks the cow smell.
7.) No sing-a-longs, please. Seriously, I want to hear Joan Jett sing “I Love Rock and Roll,” not some oaf with a mullet and his smoker-cough girlfriend sitting next to me.
8.) Make sure to check out the free acts. While the fair’s bread winners are on the main stage, there are always some good acts on the free stages. This year, for example, you have Kenny Wayne Shepherd, Ed Kowalczyk from Live, Uncle Kracker, Los Lonely Boys and Foghat, among others.
9.) Okay — not technically free. While the fair touts those concerts as free entertainment, you do have to pay eight bucks to get into the fairgrounds. In some cases the acts might not even be worth that.
10.) Easy on the beverage, man. Not that I don’t want the fair to make money, but just remember this: The more you drink, the more you’ll have to pee. And getting to a bathroom at a concert is often a challenge. And even if you find one, there’s no guarantee it won’t be disgusting.
Tribune file photo (Aerosmith at the Mid-State Fair): Nick Lucero
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