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Summer means fair concert season

The sunshine and warm days entice people to get out and have some summer fun like making their way to an outdoor concert that fills the evening with contagious melodies and a whole lot of entertainment. Every year the summer fair season begins by bringing a variety of entertainment for a few days to counties throughout the state.

In the 209, music lovers can “Imagine the Fun” at the Stanislaus County Fair with their star-studded concert line-up or make their way out to the Merced County Fair where they can be a part of “The Michael Jackson Experience.”

This year the Stanislaus County Fair will be held from July 14-23 and will include an assortment of genres for their summer concert series. For the country music fans in the 209, there are few artists that may be of interest like LeAnn Rimes (July 14), the Eli Young Band (July 17), or Lonestar (July 20).

"The (fairs) are always fun because they feel like big community events and it's fun to see a whole town get together and come out to the show." -Eli Young Band drummer Chris Thompson

“It’s fair season now and we are getting into it,” stated Eli Young Band drummer Chris Thompson. “They (fairs) are always fun because they feel like big community events and it’s fun to see a whole town get together and come out to the show.”

The Eli Young Band has been together for 17 years and were friends before they were bandmates. They met at the University of North Texas and just happened to have all the components of a band with Mike Eli on vocals, James Young on guitar, Jon Jones on bass guitar and Thompson on drums.

“It has been the four of us since day number one,” added Thompson. “We always put our friendships first before anything else and I think that is why we stayed together."

“We naturally like each other and wanted to hang out together.”

With so many blessings that they have had in their 17-year career with radio success, record deals and playing late night television shows, Thompson expressed that one really cool moment he will never forget is going on tour with Kenny Chesney a couple years ago and playing NFL stadiums all over the country.

“It was really, really cool to be a part of that,” said Thompson. “That was a pretty big moment.”

This month the Eli Young Band released its sixth record called “Fingerprints” which is also a song on the record. The record was completed a year ago and there have been two singles released from it: “Salt Water Gospel” and “Skin and Bones.” After taking some time off and listening to their fans, the band decided to go back to their sounds from the beginning.

“This record is 100 percent genuine Eli Young Band in kind of an old school way so if you are a fan of one of our earlier records you know this would definitely be something that we made for those people that got into us early on,” expressed Thompson. “We love it. We are so excited to finally get it out.

“I know it is a really personal record for Mike our singer, too … this is one that he has talked about really putting a lot of himself into more so than probably the past two records.”

If the band arrives in Stanislaus County with time to kill then they will go out and check out the fair. They will play a few songs from the new record and of course their hit singles through the years.

“I think at this point in our careers we just try to have a good time on stage because that translates to the crowd,” said Thompson. “We get on stage and we have fun and try to play the songs people want to hear and really enjoy ourselves. It is not just a concert at a fair; it is a really big social event. It is cool to be a part of those.”

The 2017 Stanislaus County Fair

Opens July 14 for a 10-day run. All concerts are scheduled to start at 8:30 p.m. on the on the Bud Light Variety Free Stage. The concert is free with the price of fair admission. For more information, visit


The 2017 Merced County Fair

All of the concerts will start at 8:30 p.m. (except for Noel Torres, which will start at 7:30 p.m.) on the Outdoor Theatre Stage. Admission to these concerts is free with Fair admission. For more information, visit


The 2017 San Joaquin County Fair

Concerts are included with admission to the fair will start at 5 p.m. Wednesday, Thursday and Friday and 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday on the Main Stage. For more information, visit