Concert preview: Ohio State Fair music preview

Elizabeth Weinstein, Columbus Alive contributor

This year's Ohio State Fair schedule features more than 40 live musical acts over the span of 12 days. From classic rock and country to up-and-coming indie acts, there are options for most every musical taste. Here are eight acts worth checking out at the fair.


7 p.m. Wednesday, July 29, WCOL Celeste Center

Country music superstar Reba McEntire released her first solo album in 1977 and hasn't looked back. She scored 22 number-one hits throughout the 1980s and '90s, and her most recent (and 27th studio album) album, Love Somebody, was released in April and debuted at number one on the Billboard Top Country Albums charts.

Patti LaBelle

7 p.m. Friday, July 31, WCOL Celeste Center

Like Reba, soul legend Patti LaBelle has enjoyed a long and celebrated career in the music industry - after 16 years as lead singer of Patti LaBelle and the Bluebelles, she too released her first solo album in 1977. Though she's best known for hits like "Lady Marmelade" and "On My Own," she recently introduced herself to new audiences as a contestant on "Dancing with the Stars."

Myah Evans

Noon and 2 p.m., Friday, July 31, Gazebo Stage

At first glance, Myah Evans, an experimental indie folk singer-songwriter from Bloomington, Indiana, seems like an odd choice for the Ohio State Fair musical line-up. But the 18-year-old self-taught musician produced a 4-track demo, Familiar Things, at age 15, using only her iPad and Garage Band. And her current single, "Flow This Way," tackles issues of identity and sexual orientation in a poignant and relevant way.

Meghan Trainor

7:30 p.m., Sunday, August 2, WCOL Celeste Center

Whether you love 'em or hate 'em, you can't deny that every time you hear one of pop music "it" girl Meghan Trainor's radio-friendly singles ("All About That Bass," "Lips Are Movin'"), you can't stop humming them for the rest of the day. Though some of her lyrics are problematic ("Yeah my mama she told me, Don't worry about your size/She says, 'Boys like a little more booty to hold at night'"), her retro vocal stylings are irresistibly catchy.

Ohio Heritage Day

11:30 a.m. - Whitt Mead and Ellie Hoffman; 4:30 p.m. - The Jericho Old Time Band; Thursday, August 6; Ohio Department of Natural Resources Stage

Ohio Heritage Day celebrates the state's rich artistic and cultural history, and this year it will feature "Ohio Master Artists" Whitt Mead (with apprentice Ellie Hoffman) and The Jericho Old Time Band. Both are recipients of the Ohio Arts Council's Ohio Heritage Fellowships, which are awarded to individuals and organizations whose work in the folk and traditional arts has had a significant impact on the people and communities of Ohio. Mead is a fiddler in the traditional Appalachian string band The River Rats, and The Jericho Old Time Band plays an eclectic mix of American roots music.

Blackstreet and Dru Hill

8 p.m., Friday, August 7, WCOL Celeste Center

Blackstreet ruled the pop charts in the 1990s with a string of hits ("No Diggity," "Baby Be Mine"), and then wasn't heard from, as a group, for more than a decade. In 2014, Blackstreet members Chauncey Black, Levi Little, Mark Middleton and Eric Williams reunited and are playing their hits on tour, again. At the fair, they'll perform with another popular group from the '90s – Dru Hill (of "How Deep is Your Love" fame).

Peter Frampton and Cheap Trick

7 p.m., Friday, August 9, WCOL Celeste Center

Peter Frampton made his mark as one of the most successful arena rock performers of the 1970s, and his breakthrough solo album, Frampton Comes Alive!, produced hits like "Baby, I Love Your Way" and "Do You Feel Like We Do." His most recent album, 2014's Hummingbird In a Box: Songs For a Ballet, is an EP full of new guitar pieces inspired by the Cincinnati Ballet. Frampton is joined by Cheap Trick, making this a pretty epic '70s rock double-bill ("I Want You to Want Me").

The Accidentals

Noon and 2 p.m., Wednesday, August 4, Gazebo Stage

Katie Larson, Savannah Buist and Michael Dause (The Accidentals) are recent high school graduates from Traverse City, Michigan, who met in 2011 while volunteering for a class assignment. Now they're touring the country with their energetic brand of self-described "alternative acoustic indie folkish rock with a twist."

Win free tickets!

Alive is giving away tickets to the following shows at the Ohio State Fair:

Patti Labelle, Friday, July 31

Jake Owen, Josh Door, Saturday, August 1

Deep Purple, Nazareth, Wednesday, August 5

Great White, Vixen, Lynch Mob, Thursday, August 6

Blackstreet and Dru Hill, Friday August 7

Peter Frampton and Cheap Trick, Saturday August 8

Visit to find out how to enter.