State fair rolls out concert lineup, strategy

The Indiana State Fair hopes to preserve attendance that’s traditionally tied to big-name concerts even though the events will take place downtown this year.

While announcing this year's concert lineup Monday morning, the fair also said people who buy tickets to the shows at Banker’s Life Fieldhouse will receive a ticket to the fair that they can use any day of the Aug. 3-19 run of the event.

The fair will provide shuttles from the fairgrounds to downtown, but spokesman Andy Klotz said organizers expect most people to drive themselves to the concerts.

The fair announced four major concerts Monday morning: Barry Manilow on Aug. 3, Train on Aug. 4, Journey with Pat Benatar and Loverboy on Aug. 8, and Blake Shelton on Aug. 17.

Last year, six major concerts were scheduled for the Hoosier Lottery Grandstand at the fairgrounds, but two were called off in the wake of the stage collapse that killed seven people.

Fair concerts will be conducted downtown until 2014, then moved to Pepsi Colisum at the fairgrounds after it is renovated.

Klotz said moving the shows downtown shouldn’t affect the fair’s bottom line. The fair’s goal is always to break even on grandstand shows, he said, though they have turned a profit in the past.

“We could still very easily turn a profit,” he said.

Concert capacity at Banker’s Life will be 10,000 to 13,500, depending on the stage setup, according to Pacers Sports & Entertainment. That’s less than the grandstand, which holds about 15,000 people, including open-air seating on the racetrack in front of the stage.

About 12,000 people were in attendance for the country duo Sugarland when high winds toppled the stage rigging Aug. 13, Klotz said.

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