2012 Illinois State Fair grandstand entertainment announced

Cathy Decker/Staff reporter

Reigning Female Vocalist of the Year Miranda Lambert headlines a star-studded, 2012, Illinois State Fair Grandstand entertainment line-up that also features country singers Eric Church and Brantley Gilbert, pop artist Demi Lovato and rock icon Cheap Trick.

 “This is one of the most solid concert line-ups that  we’ve assembled,” State Fair Manager Amy Bliefnick said.  “From the first night to the last, the acts are top-notch.  I’m looking forward to great shows and memorable performances.”

Church, whose latest album, “Chief,” reached number one on the country charts and produced his first number one single, “Drink in My Hand,” will open the State Fair Grandstand concerts Friday, Aug. 10.

Lovato, the Disney star who was recently crowned Favorite Pop Artist by the People’s Choice Awards, will share the stage Saturday, Aug. 11, with Hot Chelle Rae, a Nashville, Tenn., rock band best known for its 2011, double platinum song “Tonight Tonight.”

Christian rapper TobyMac will perform Sunday, Aug. 12. He has recorded six number one singles, including “Gone,” “Made to Love” and “Lose My Soul,” and his 2009 album “Alive and Transported” won a Grammy for Best Rock or Rap Gospel Album.

The cast of Million Dollar Quartet will give a free concert Monday, Aug. 13.  The musical is currently running at the Apollo Theater in Chicago and was inspired by the famed recording session that brought together rock 'n' roll icons Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis and Carl Perkins for the first and only time.  New Odyssey, a talented trio that plays 30 different instruments during its show, will open for the Million Dollar Quartet.

Tuesday, Aug. 14, country rocker Brantley Gilbert, whose songwriting credits include the Jason Aldean hits “Dirt Road Anthem” and “My Kinda Party,” will headline.  Gilbert has had recent success as a solo artist, reaching number one on the Billboard country chart with his single “Country Must Be Country Wide.” Charlie Daniels will open the show, singing hits from his illustrious, 50-year career in music, a career that has produced such classics as “The Devil Went Down to Georgia,” “In America” and “Uneasy Rider.”

Train, whose smash hit “Hey, Soul Sister” was iTunes’ most downloaded song in 2010, will entertain  fairgoers Wednesday, Aug. 15.  The following night, Creed will perform.  Creed was one of the most successful rock bands of the late 90s and early 2000s, releasing three consecutive multi-platinum  albums and winning a Best Rock Song Grammy for “With Arms Wide Open.”

The Friday, Aug. 17, show will feature a  quadruple-bill of classic rock.  Cheap Trick, which recorded such hits as “Dream Police,” “I Want You to Want Me” and “Ain’t That A Shame will headline the concert.  Joining the Rockford, Ill., band will be Night Ranger, whose hits include “Sister Christian” and “When You Close Your Eyes,” Blue Oyster Cult and  the Georgia Satellites.  Blue Oyster Cult is best known for 1976’s “Don’t Fear the Reaper” and 1981’s  “Burnin’ for You,” while the Georgia Satellites earned acclaim for the band’s 1986 single “Keep Your Hands to Yourself.”

 Lambert, who currently is both the Academy of Country Music (ACM) and County Music Association (CMA) female vocalist of the year, will play the fair Saturday, Aug. 18.  Her accolades also include prized album of the year trophies (from the ACM for her second record, “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend,” and from both the ACM and CMA for her third, “Revolution”) and a Grammy award for top country female vocal performance (“The House That Built Me).  The Pistol Annies, a group Lambert started and also performs in, will open the show.  A concert has not been booked yet for the final day of the fair, Aug. 19.

Tickets will go on sale Saturday, May 12, through Ticketmaster.  Tickets can be purchased either on the internet at, by calling 1-800-745-3000 or visiting any Ticketmaster outlet. Ticket order forms can be downloaded on the Illinois State Fair website at The Grandstand ticket office will open Saturday, June 9.

All concerts begin at 7:30 p.m. except for the Aug. 13 performance of the Million Dollar Quartet and New Odyssey, which begins at 7 p.m., and the Aug. 17 Cheap Trick concert, which will start at 5 p.m.   All adults and children 3 years of age and older must have a ticket.  All sales are final. The fair does not provide refunds or exchanges on ticket purchases.

•Aug. 10       Eric Church/Aaron Lewis - $30-25-25           $35

•Aug. 11       Demi Lovato/Hot Chelle Rae - $25-22-19         $28

•Aug. 12       TobyMac/TBA - $20-20-20           $20

•Aug. 13       Million Dollar Quartet/New Odyssey FREE ADMISSION

•Aug. 14       Brantley Gilbert/Charlie Daniels Band - $24-21-18         $27

•Aug. 15       Train/Mat Kearney/Andy Grammer - $30-25-25         $35

•Aug. 16       Creed/Theory of a Deadman/TBA- $30-25-25           $35

•Aug. 17       Cheap Trick/ Night Ranger/BOC/Georgia Satellites - $30-25-25         $30

•Aug. 18       Miranda Lambert/Pistol Annies/TBA $42-39-36         $45

•Aug. 19       TBA