Live, from the Valley: National acts return to arenas, 175th fair

Joe Bonamassa performs at the fifth annual Love Rocks NYC concert to benefit God's Love We Deliver at the Beacon Theatre on Thursday, June 3, 2021, in New York. (Photo by Charles Sykes/Invision/AP)

Darius Rucker and Shinedown will provide the grandstand entertainment for the 175th Canfield Fair.

The two concerts were among four shows announced Monday by JAC Live, and JAC President and CEO Eric Ryan said it’s a direct result of Gov. Mike DeWine lifting COVID-19 restrictions in the state.

“The biggest challenge over the last eight months was trying to stay ahead of the curve in case the governor opened the state up,” Ryan said. “We thankfully stayed ahead of it as much as we could. We’re ecstatic about our absolutely fantastic lineup for the 175th anniversary of the fair.”

Both Rucker and Shinedown are acts Ryan has worked with before. Rucker played the Covelli Centre in 2015, and Ryan has been bringing Shinedown to the area since he owned the bar The Cellar in Struthers in the 2000s.

“They both were very popular in this market,” Ryan said. “I’ve always said Shinedown is the Mahoning Valley’s rock band. They’ve always done tremendously well here and Darius, we had him once, and he sold out.”

Rucker, who will perform Sept. 5, first gained fame as lead singer of the multi-platinum-selling rock act Hootie & the Blowfish, and he’s continued his commercial success as a solo country artist with such hits as “Wagon Wheel,” “Come Back Song,” “This,” “If I Told You,” “For the First Time” and “Beers and Sunshine.”

Shinedown, which will close the fair on Sept. 6, was the first band to perform at the downtown Youngstown arena as the opening act of its inaugural concert. The band has returned to the venue as a headliner multiple times. Shinedown has sold more than 10 million albums and 10 million singles and been awarded five gold and platinum albums. All of Shinedown’s 27 singles have reached the Top 5 on the Billboard Mainstream Rock Songs Chart.

Both shows go on sale at 10 a.m. Friday through Ticketmaster.

Also on sale Friday will be Counting Crows at 7 p.m. Aug. 10 (in partnership with Live Nation) and the I Love the ’90s Tour with Vanilla Ice, All-4-One, C+C Music Factory and Rob Base at 8:30 p.m. Aug. 14 (both at the Youngstown Foundation Amphitheatre) and Joe Bonamassa at the Covelli Centre at 8 p.m. Nov. 27.

A half-dozen national acts already have been announced for the amphitheater, while Bonamassa is the first new show booked at the arena since the pandemic started.

Normally, promoters try to space out concert announcements to avoid competing with themselves, but Ryan said there are so many shows in the pipeline that they have no choice

“You can see what we’ve already announced for the amphitheater, and they’re going to keep coming,” Ryan said. “A lot of people said during the pandemic, ‘I bet you guys are doing nothing.’ We may not be selling tickets and putting butts in seats, but we were working. We were ready to pull the trigger once we’re open, and the proof is in what we’re doing.”

Ryan said 10 national tours will stop at the amphitheater this summer, and he said Packard Music Hall in Warren (which JAC also manages) will be as busy this fall as it’s ever been. It will take a bit longer for the Covelli Centre calendar to fill up because the promoters have to wait for the larger tours to hit the road, but he expects a busy schedule by late fall / winter.

“My whole life has revolved around ticket sales,” he said. “It feels good once again to wake up in the morning and see how many tickets you sold yesterday.”



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