John Mellencamp grandstand headliner at Canfield Fair


By GUY D’ASTOLFO

dastolfo@vindy.com

CANFIELD

John Mellencamp will return to the Mahoning Valley on Sept. 3 as the main grandstand concert at the Canfield Fair.

“He is playing fairs and festivals this summer and we had been trying to get him for a while,” said Eric Ryan, whose JAC Management Co., has taken on the task of producing the fair’s shows this year. “I think he’s a great fit for the area.”

Mellencamp last played in the Valley in 2006, when he brought his tour to a sold-out Covelli Centre.

There will be just two concerts at the fair this year, with the second one on Labor Day. “We fluctuate between two and three concerts each year, depending on where we are in our budget and what we can hook up that will be a draw for our area,” said fair director George Roman.

The second concert, which hasn’t been announced yet, will likely be either a Christian pop or country act.

Last year, the fair’s main grandstand concerts were switched to weekdays, but they are being moved back to their traditional Sunday and Monday slots this year.

Mellencamp, who was inducted into the Rock’n’Roll Hall of Fame in 2008, also visited the Valley in 2013, when an exhibition of his paintings went on display at the Butler Museum of American Art’s Trumbull County site. He performed in concert in October at Akron Civic Theatre.

Tickets for the Indiana rocker’s Canfield Fair concert will be $39.50, $49.50, $59.50, $69.50, $79.50 and $99.50 and go on sale at 10 a.m. Friday at ticketmaster.com, by phone at 1-800-745-3000, the Ticketmaster mobile app and all Ticketmaster outlets. Beginning April 24, tickets can also be purchased at the Canfield Fair administration building. Check canfieldfair.com for details.

The concert will start at 8 p.m. with opening act country singer-songwriter Carlene Carter, who is the daughter of country great June Carter.

As a co-founder of FarmAid and with his Midwestern background, Mellencamp is a natural for agricultural-based fairs. At his FarmAid concert appearance last year in Virginia, he performed many songs from his long catalog of hits but with an Americana flavor, reworking them and spotlighting a violin player.

Mellencamp rose to stardom in the 1980s, releasing a string of hits that includes “Hurts So Good,” “Jack & Diane,” “Crumblin’ Down,” “Pink Houses,” “Lonely Ol’ Night,” “Small Town,” “R.O.C.K. in the U.S.A.,” “Check It Out,” “Paper in Fire” and “Cherry Bomb.”

He has 22 albums under his belt, with the most recent being 2014’s “Plain Spoken.” Mellencamp and Carter will release a duets album, “Sad Clowns and Hillbillies,” on April 28.

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