By Kim Brooks, Express Editor
With temperatures in the 30s and the weatherman talking about the possibility of snow flurries, fair season is far from many people’s minds. That is until Black Friday rolls around…
The Great Jones County Fair is ready once again to announce its first entertainment act for the 2013 season: Keith Urban with special guests Little Big Town and Dustin Lynch!
The Great Jones County Fair will be an official stop on Urban’s tour with the other two acts. In fact, Urban’s national tour was officially announced today, Wednesday, Nov. 14.
For the past couple of years, the GJCF has been lucky to announce entertainment acts well in advance of the fair to allow people the opportunity to purchase tickets at their leisure. Rather than buy a handful of tickets at once, fans can buy them as they become available.
After last summer’s country music acts featuring Toby Keith and Blake Shelton, there was an immense amount of excitement in the air! People have been anxiously awaiting this news for this year’s acts to grace the new stage at the fairgrounds.
“Financially, things went well,” commented John Harms, general manager of the GJCF. He said the good weather and entertainment acts all came together for record-turnout attendance. “It was our best fair ever!” said Harms.
With $2 million-plus in gross revenue alone, Harms said this was a milestone in the fair’s 160 years. He said concessions were up and all three nights of concerts were close to selling out.
The ability to bring in such big-name acts like Toby Keith, Blake Shelton, Keith Urban and more is all due to the fair’s booking agent, whom they’ve been working with for over 40 years.
“They know who sells,” said Harms of the people they work with. “Our success is based on the people we surround ourselves with.”
Harms said they’ve wanted to bring many big names to the fair in the past, but unfortunately missed out due to routing schedules and the cost. This past summer, the fair spent a little over $900,000 on grandstand entertainment. But, they brought in over $1.3 million in gate and ticket sales. People want to see these huge names on this stage and are willing to pay. Where else can you go to see the above-mentioned concerts at $40-$50 a piece?
Harms said they had Keith Urban booked a number of years ago. At that time, he would have cost the fair a fifth of what they are paying now. However, Urban had a better offer to tour nationally with Kenny Chesney. Harms said he made the right move then.
This time, Urban’s national tour worked to bring him to Monticello. Along with the group Little Big Town, who won two CMA Awards this month for Vocal Group of the Year and Single of the Year for their number one hit “Pontoon.”
For Urban, he’s been making music since the mid-1990s. Aside from his country music hits, one right after another, he’s married to actress Nicole Kidman and is set to appear on the new season of “American Idol” as one of four judges. He was recently inducted into the Grand Ole Opry, a country music milestone, this April.
Dustin Lynch’s hit “Cowboys and Angels” is growing more popular every minute. The song and music video are climbing the country music charts. We have only seen the beginning of Lynch’s career.
Tickets for the Saturday, July 20, concert go on sale on Black Friday, Nov. 23, at 10 a.m. online ONLY. Go to the GJCF’s website at
“We hope to sell every ticket,” said Harms. “These acts are a huge draw for the fair.”
With a massive, permanent stage here, the entertainment acts are able to not only perform, but put on a great production as well.
“Fans like that,” said Harms. “People are paying for more than the price of the ticket. They’re getting lighting, sound effects, a stage production and more.”
While people may come for the entertainment, they are also getting to take in and experience the sights and sounds of the GJCF and Food Fest!
“It all goes along with the experience,” Harms said.
PHOTO: Keith Urban will headline the Saturday, July 20, 2013, country music night at the Great Jones County Fair. Opening for Urban will be Dustin Lynch and Little Big Town. (Photos submitted)