Fair picks grandstand acts

ESCANABA – Rock and country music will once again rule this year’s grandstand entertainment at the U.P. State Fair.

The grandstand entertainment lineup for this year’s fair include rock acts FireHouse, Sebastian Bach, and Blood, Sweat & Tears with Bo Bice. Country acts include singers Easton Corbin and Joe Diffie.

The lineup was announced today at a reception held at the Island Resort & Casino. This year’s U.P. State Fair will take place Aug. 11-17 at the U.P. State Fairgrounds and will mark the fifth year of independent operations under the U.P. State Fair Authority.

Kicking off the week of grandstand entertainment will be heavy metal/hard rock band FireHouse, which opens for Sebastian Bach on Aug. 12. FireHouse released eight studio albums between 1990 and 2011 and are perhaps best known for their biggest hit single “Love of a Lifetime” which peaked at No. 5 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1991. Other notable singles released by the band include “When I Look Into Your Eyes,” “Don’t Treat Me Bad,” and “I Live My Life For You.”

The group is a former American Music Award winner for Favorite Artist Heavy Metal/Hard Rock and many of their songs have been featured on network TV shows, motion pictures and video games.

Following FireHouse’s performance, heavy metal singer Sebastian Bach will take to the stage.

Bach achieved mainstream success as frontman of Skid Row from 1987 to 1996. Since then, he has starred in many television roles, acted in several Broadway plays and has led a successful solo career.

Bach’s most recent studio albums include 2007’s “Angel Down” and 2011’s “Kicking & Screaming.” He will release his latest album “Give ‘Em Hell” next week.

Country crooner Easton Corbin will perform Aug. 13 at the fair. The singer has two No. 1 singles under his belt as well as multiple awards and nominations, boasting performances on some of the world’s biggest stages.

Corbin first broke on the scene in 2009 and is best known for his No. 1 country hits “A Little More Country Than That” and “Roll With It,” as well as top 15 hit “I Can’t Love You Back.” He made history as the first country male artist in 17 years to have his first two consecutive singles reach No. 1. Corbin was the recipient of three American Country Awards in 2010 and has toured with the likes of Rascal Flatts, Brad Paisley and Blake Shelton.

On Aug. 14, contemporary jazz-rock group Blood, Sweat & Tears will hit the stage with featured lead singer Bo Bice. Blood, Sweat & Tears are known for their musical contributions from the late 1960s to early 1970s.

Since that time, Blood, Sweat & Tears have re-established themselves as one of the hottest touring acts worldwide. Some of their hit songs include “You’ve Made Me So Very Happy,” “And When I Die,” “Hi-De-Ho,” “Lucretia Mac Evil,” “Go Down Gamblin,” and the Grammy Award-winning “Spinning Wheel.”

Featured lead singer Bo Bice will join the group during their performance. Bice is most widely known as the runner-up to country superstar Carrie Underwood on season four of “American Idol.” As a solo artist he has released three studio albums including his gold-certified “The Real Thing” in 2005.

Rounding out the week’s musical grandstand entertainment will be country singer Joe Diffie on Aug. 15.

The Grammy Award-winning and multi-platinum Diffie is best known for his work between 1990 and 2004, where he charted more than 30 songs on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart including five No. 1 singles: “Home,” “If the Devil Danced (In Empty Pockets),” “Third Rock from the Sun,” “Pickup Man,” and “Bigger Than the Beatles.” In addition he has 12 other top 10 singles and ten top 40 hits on the same chart.

Additional grandstand entertainment this year includes Upper Peninsula International Racing Association Races on Aug. 16 and an Armageddon on Wheels self-proclaimed “demolition derby on steroids” on Aug. 17.

Fair organizers Delta Commerce Center Executive Director Vickie Micheau, Associate Director Sheila Krueger, and Special Events Manager John Lewandowski believe this year’s headline entertainment lineup, free acts and activities will allow them to beat last year’s record-breaking year.

“So many people deserve to take credit for a successful four years,” said Micheau. “The dedication and commitment of the Hannahville Indian Community, U.P. State Fair Authority members, exhibitors, volunteers, sponsors, vendors, Skerbeck Brothers’ Carnival, and employees can’t be overstated. It’s because of this support that we are celebrating our fifth year of operation under the governance of the U.P. State Fair Authority.”

Organizers also credit Jason Promotions and the Island Resort & Casino who do “an incredible job” of working within a limited fair budget to ensure grandstand attractions and midway entertainment lure a cross-section of fairgoers.

See tomorrow’s edition of the Daily Press for additional fair information and entertainment.