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The Doobie Brothers, Miranda Lambert, Tim McGraw and Kevin Costner among Grandstand headliners at MN State Fair

21August 2021

The Minnesota State Fair Grandstand comes roaring back to life with a lineup that includes country hitmakers (Miranda Lambert, Maren Morris, Tim McGraw), retro R&B (TLC and Shaggy, the Spinners), classic rockers (The Doobie Brothers, George Thorogood and the Destroyers) and … Kevin Costner.

Tickets are available through Etix, by phone at 800-514-3849 and in person at the State Fairgrounds Ticket Office.

Here’s a look at what’s on tap.

Miranda Lambert

Aug. 26: Country star Miranda Lambert started writing songs as teenager in Texas and, in 2003, placed third in first season of “Nashville Star,” an “American Idol”-style competition show that aired on the USA Network. That same year, she signed a deal with Epic Records and started work on what would become her debut album, 2005’s “Kerosene.” It topped a million in sales and introduced the young performer as a strong-willed and independent woman unwilling to be defined by a man. She scored her first chart-topper with 2010’s “The House that Built Me” and has since returned to that spot with “Heart Like Mine,” “Over You,” “Something Bad” and “Bluebird.” Lambert’s latest album “The Marfa Tapes,” a collaboration with longtime friends Jon Randall and Jack Ingram, was released to glowing reviews in May. Opener Lindsay Ell scored a No. 1 hit with her Brantley Gilbert duet “What Happens in a Small Town.” $65-$40.

Maren Morris accepts the award for new artist of the year at the 50th annual CMA Awards at the Bridgestone Arena on Wednesday, Nov. 2, 2016, in Nashville, Tenn. (Photo by Charles Sykes/Invision/AP)

Maren Morris

Aug. 27: Maren Morris has been one of the buzziest artists of the past few years, both in and outside of Nashville. Her 2016 major label debut single, “My Church,” went double platinum and won a Grammy. “I Could Use a Love Song,” “80s Mercedes” and “Rich” also hit the country charts and her vocals on electronic music star Zedd’s single “The Middle” introduced Morris to pop music fans. She also provided guest vocals on songs from Thomas Rhett and Niall Horan and served as the opening act for Horan’s tour. Morris released her sophomore album, “Girl,” in 2019 and it produced hits with the title track and “The Bones.” She’s also a member of the acclaimed supergroup the Highwomen alongside Brandi Carlile, Natalie Hemby and Amanda Shires. Noah Schnacky and Patrick Murphy open. $65-$40.

Lake Street Dive (left to right): Mike Calabrese, Bridget Kearney, Rachel Price, Mike “McDuck” Olson. (Courtesy of Shervin Lainez)

The Current’s Music on-a-Stick

Aug. 28: The Current’s annual Grandstand showcase features three acts in heavy rotation on the MPR indie rock station. With a name inspired by Minneapolis’ own Lake Street (guitarist/trumpet player Mike “McDuck” Olson grew up in the city), Lake Street Dive play Beatles-inspired pop music with heavy doses of country, jazz and R&B. Led by Adam Weiner, Low Cut Connie quickly earned a reputation as a must-see live act. Elton John, Bruce Springsteen and Howard Stern are among Low Cut Connie’s high-profile fans. Local favorites Kiss the Tiger have spent the past five years building a fanbase and recently hit No. 1 on the Current’s Chart Show with “Hold on to Love.” $38-$28.

TLC and Shaggy

Aug. 29: Two ’90s R&B acts share top billing for this night of retro soul. TLC dominated the decade with four No. 1 hits still heard today: “Creep,” “Waterfalls,” “No Scrubs” and “Unpretty.” Jamaican reggae musician Shaggy’s biggest hits include “Boombastic,” “It Wasn’t Me” and “Angel.” In 2018, he surprised everyone by releasing a collaborative record with Sting, “44/876,” which went on to win a Grammy for best reggae album. Openers Bone Thugs-n-Harmony are best known for their Grammy-winning 1996 smash “Tha Crossroads.” which was dedicated to the group’s mentor, the late Eazy-E. $57-$37.

The Spinners

Aug. 30: The Spinners formed way back in 1954 in Detroit and the current touring version of the group includes 83-year-old Henry Fambrough, who is the sole surviving original member. They first hit the R&B charts in 1961 with “That’s What Girls Are Made For,” but they didn’t really take off until almost a decade later with “It’s a Shame.” The Spinners went on to carve out a career as durable hitmakers with “I’ll Be Around,” “Could it Be I’m Falling in Love,” “Then Came You,” “Games People Play,” “The Rubberband Man” and “Working My Way Back to You.” Retro rock acts Little Anthony and the Imperials and the Grass Roots are also on the bill. $31.

The Doobie Brothers. (Courtesy of the Minnesota State Fair)

The Doobie Brothers

Aug. 31: Tom Johnston and Patrick Simmons formed the Doobie Brothers in 1970 and released a series of hit singles including “Listen to the Music,” “Jesus Is Just Alright,” “Long Train Runnin’,” “China Grove,” “Black Water” and “Take Me in Your Arms (Rock Me).” By 1975, health issues forced Johnston to the sidelines and the group invited singer/songwriter Michael McDonald to join the lineup. With McDonald, the Doobies returned to the charts with “Takin’ It to the Streets,” “It Keeps You Runnin’” and “What a Fool Believes.” Now, in a (belated) celebration of the group’s 50th anniversary, McDonald has rejoined his former band on the road. The Dirty Dozen Brass Band opens. $65-$50.

Tim McGraw

Sept. 1: Hunky country star Tim McGraw returns to the Grandstand for the the sixth time and first since 2014. The 54-year-old Louisiana native first hit No. 1 with 1994’s “Don’t Take the Girl” and has landed back in that spot two dozen more times over the years, with smashes like “I Like It, I Love It,” “Unbroken,” “Live Like You Were Dying,” “Last Dollar (Fly Away),” “Felt Good on My Lips,” “Shotgun Rider” and “Humble and Kind.” Openers Midland scored a double-platinum hit with their 2017 single “Drinkin’ Problem.” $88-$60.

The Chainsmokers perform live on stage at iHeartRadio LIVE with The Chainsmokers at iHeartRadio Theater on September 03, 2019 in Burbank, California. (Photo by Randy Shropshire/Getty Images for iHeartMedia)

The Chainsmokers

Sept. 2: Alex Pall and Andrew Taggart broke through to the masses with their 2014 single “#Selfie,” which went platinum in the U.S. and hit the charts across Europe. They scored big again the following year with “Roses,” and went on to release the hits “Don’t Let Me Down,” “Closer,” “All We Know,” “Paris,” “Something Just Like This,” “Sick Boy” and “This Feeling.” While the pair’s chart momentum has slowed down some in recent years, they remain remarkably prolific and issued 10 singles in 2019. Brooklyn rapper Gashi opens. $70-$50.

Kevin Costner

Sept. 3: In the weirdest booking of the season, big time actor Kevin Costner is headlining an evening dubbed Music, Movie and a Conversation with Kevin Costner with special guest Modern West. Costner has worked steadily in film since the early ’80s and won best picture and best director Oscars for his 1991 film “Dances with Wolves.” These days, he’s best known for starring in the television drama “Yellowstone.” He started his band, Modern West, in 2007 and has since released four albums. $75-$25.

George Thorogood and the Destroyers

George Thorogood and the Destroyers

Sept. 4: Delaware native George Thorogood began his career in the late ’70s, playing straightforward blues rock. But from the start, he stood out from the pack, with his early albums helping to put his first label, Rounder Records, on the map. After opening for the Rolling Stones in 1981, Thorogood signed with EMI and scored a surprise 1982 mainstream hit with “Bad to the Bone,” a stuttering, Bo Diddley-style rocker that still gets used to this day in films, television shows and commercials. The current tour marks the group’s 45th anniversary and includes ’80s rockers Night Ranger as the opening act. $46-$36.

Ventriloquist, singer and “America’s Got Talent” champ Darci Lynne Farmer. (Courtesy of the Minnesota State Fair)

Darci Lynne

Sept. 6: Ventriloquist and singer Darci Lynne Farmer grew up in Oklahoma City and loved singing since childhood, but lacked the confidence to perform in front of an audience. To help overcome her shyness, her parents encouraged her to enter the pageant circuit and she was crowned International Mini Miss at the 2014 International Cinderella Scholarship Program. While there, she met a young ventriloquist who inspired Farmer to try it herself. The following year, Farmer began competing in regional talent contests and later appeared on several reality competition TV shows in the U.S. and England. In 2017, she made it onto the 12th season of “America’s Got Talent” and ended up that year’s winner. Local family favorites the Okee Dokee Brothers open. $25.

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