The 2023 lineup for the Minnesota State Fair's Bandshell Tonight series continues a successful formula — a popular Minnesota rock group, a tribute band, a veteran R&B vocal group, an act launched by a TV talent show, a buzzy Americana/alt-country singer and a household name.
That well-known Hollywood name, actor Kevin Bacon, will kick off the Bandshell Tonight slate with the Bacon Brothers as one of 900 free performances from Aug. 24 through Sept. 4. (Outside gate admission is required.)
The rest of the Bandshell Tonight lineup is Naturally 7, an a cappella septet known for its work with Michael Bublé; country singer Drake Milligan, who placed third last fall on "America's Got Talent"; acclaimed alt-country twanger Nikki Lane; Celebrating Meat Loaf (not a cooking demo but a tribute band to the late singer of "Paradise by the Dashboard Light"); and Soul Asylum, longtime Minneapolis rockers of "Runaway Train" fame.
Acts booked for daytime shows at the Bandshell include zydeco favorite C.J. Chenier, country warbler Bryan White and many area performers such as the Steeles, St. Paul & the Minneapolis Funk All-Stars, Chris Kroeze, Bruce A. Henry, Shaun Johnson and Jennifer Grimm's Judy Garland salute.
Other Minnesota artists scheduled on free stages include Jamecia Bennett, Gully Boys, Kiss the Tiger, Free & Easy, Malamanya, Orkestar Bez Ime, ABBASolutely Fab and Honky-Tonk Jump.
For a full schedule, go to mnstatefair.org/free-live-music-and-shows/