State Fair officials need to bring concerts back home

(Anderson) Herald Bulletin

Celebrating the year of the dairy cow, officials planning this past Indiana State Fair may have gone a bit off target with hosting concerts by Barry Manilow.

Udderly, it was a bad choice.

Many Hoosiers know that Manilow and milk cows don’t mix.

Nor do the rock bands Train or Journey conjure images of elephant ears.

A concert with Blake Shelton we understand — but families likely can’t spend upward of $75 apiece.

That doesn’t leave much cash to take the kids to the midway.

And those concerts were held at Bankers Life Fieldhouse, some four miles away from the fairgrounds. The reason for moving to the home of the Pacers was certainly understandable: officials, and many fair-goers, were leery of holding concerts on the same stage where seven people were killed in 2011 when outdoor rigging collapsed.

Nevertheless, fair officials recently decided that the downtown venue and mismatched talent didn’t work.

A financial report has indicated that fair event revenue, including downtown concerts, was 40 percent below expectations, amounting to $1.1 million and leaving the fair a $505,000 profit. A $601,000 profit had been anticipated for the 17-day fair that ran Aug. 3-19.

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