The Oregon State Fair is not just all carnival rides, corn dogs, and cotton candy. Somewhere in between the rodeo show and the chocolate cake contest at the fairgrounds in Salem, some big-name bands (sans a few original members) will be taking to the stage. From August 29 through September 5, you can croon along (unabashedly) to some of your favorite tunes while ignoring the snide comments from your kids. Here’s the lowdown on who’s playing and when.
FYI: There is a limited number of first-come, first-served free seats for fair-goers, but if you want to be certain you’ll get a seat you should buy tickets for concerts ahead of time. Tickets for concerts run $40 and up.
7 p.m. Mon, Aug 29
Everyone has been to at least one wedding where the couple’s first dance is a song by Rascal Flatts. Known for their sappy country tunes, the trio disbanded in 2021. The good news? Front man Gary LeVox is now going solo with a debut album (appropriately titled One on One) and will be keeping the soccer mom music alive with a performance in late August. —MH
7 p.m. Tue, Aug 30
If you were a ’90s teen, no doubt you’ve blasted “Boombastic” while listening to the radio (on the boombox) while wearing oversize jeans and T-shirt. Well, now’s your chance to relive the glory days without your parents yelling from the other room to “turn that crap down.” Shaggy, who exploded onto the reggae pop scene with classics like “Oh Carolina” and “It Wasn’t Me” will be bringing a slice of nostalgia for a night this summer, so don’t miss out. —MH
7 p.m. Wed, Aug 31
Labeling themselves a “worship movement,” Bethel Music originated from Bethel Church in Redding, California. The collective of songwriters and musicians specialize in contemporary worship music, to put it plainly. —MH
7 p.m., Thu, Sept 1
The ’90s girl group that brought us “Waterfalls,” one of the most memorable songs and music videos of the decade, are returning to the stage for their “Celebration of ‘CrazySexyCool’” tour, the album that back in the day, had teens taping songs like “Creep” and “Red Light Special” onto cassette tapes from the radio. Sadly, Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes has since passed away (RIP) but members Tionne “T-Boz” Watkins and Rozonda “Chilli” Thomas will be honoring their late bandmate (whom they never replaced) with a show featuring all your fave hits. —MH
7 p.m. Fri, Sept 2
Kick off Labor Day weekend with Scotty McCreery, the contemporary country singer and American Idol winner who impressed judges J Lo, Steven Tyler, and Randy Jackson in the television series' 10th season. In addition to 2011 album Clear as Day going platinum, his song “Five More Minutes” also inspired a Hallmark movie (which has the same title). —MH
7 p.m., Sat, Sept 3
The iconic California band’s melodic surf music is still a regular in movie soundtracks, which means even your tweens have at least heard a few Beach Boys songs at some point in time. The band came onto the scene in the 1960s with hits like “Surfin’ USA” and “Good Vibrations” and are now bringing the vibes to the stage for their “60 Years of the Sounds of Summer Tour.” Well, at least one of the surviving original band members, anyway. Mike Love, one of the band’s original vocalists and lyricists, will be playing—Brian Wilson, Al Jardine, and David Marks, however, will not. And, sorry, no John Stamos this time, either. —MH
4 p.m. Mon, Sept 5
If you’re going down-down baby to Salem for the Oregon State Fair, be sure to brush up on your Country Grammar and scream like a St. Lunatic for Cornell Haynes Jr., a.k.a Nelly. With classics like “E.I.” and “Number One,” the St. Louis rapper will bring a taste of the Midwest to the Beaver State. —Dalila Brent