The Ventura County Fair is almost upon us, and this year the musical lineup truly does offer something for everyone. Here’s a rundown of who’s set to perform and a few fashion tips, just in case you want to look the part.
Montgomery Gentry, Aug. 6
The duo, best known for fist-pumping, sing-along jams like “My Town” and “Gone,” kicks off the fair’s generally country-heavy lineup. With its penchant for illegal hunting and performing at Republican fundraisers, don’t expect any songs dedicated to Hillary Clinton, or Bambi for that matter. Suggested attire: bulletproof vest.
Huey Lewis and the News, Aug. 7
Huey Lewis exploded in the 1980s with the seven-times platinum record Sports. Lewis is guaranteed to play all the biggies like “I Want A New Drug” and “The Heart of Rock and Roll,” and he’s still in good voice, all things considered. As for the News, if you can name a member without googling, you deserve front-row seats. Hell, you deserve to become a member. Suggested attire: polo shirt with a little alligator logo.
LeAnn Rimes, Aug. 8
Be forewarned, Ms. Rimes is a chronic show canceler, bailing on countless concerts over the past few years for reasons such as illness and stress or no good reason at all. She’s also abandoned her musical career, for the most part, for the higher pursuit of putting her shaky personal life on display in tabloids and reality TV. When she does show up, however, Rimes still has that amazing voice that made her a worldwide sensation as a little girl. Suggested attire: Louis Vuitton.
Roberto Tapia, Beatriz Adriana, Mariachi Aguilas de Mexico, Aug. 9
You get some serious bang for your buck on Fiesta Day when three different Latin music headliners appear. This is routinely one of the most popular days of the entire fair, and it’s a Sunday matinee show, so expect entire families fresh out of Mass en masse. Suggested attire: cowboy hats.
Kevin Costner and Modern West, Aug. 10
Ventura’s favorite son and Academy Award winner returns for a performance with his band Modern West. The Cos’ last public appearance in Ventura literally shut down the downtown portion of the city, so expect a big crowd. Yes, he’s another actor moonlighting as a musician, but he starred in JFK and Field of Dreams, two of the best movies ever made, so he gets a pass on his extracurricular activities. Suggested attire: Patagonia.
Neil Sedaka, Aug. 11
For the traditional seniors matinee concert, you could do worse than Sedaka. Close to 80 years old and still performing, Sedaka has written and been involved with massive hits dating all the way back to the late 1950s. In many ways he doesn’t get the credit he deserves. If you’re looking to see a living legend at the fair, and not in the livestock area, this is your chance. Suggested attire: cardigan sweaters.
Chaka Khan, Aug. 11
The grandstand is gonna boogie on down when the “Queen of Funk” holds court. From her long career with Rufus to her own run as a solo artist, Kahn has sold close to 100 million records and won 10 Grammy awards. Her influence remains as strong as ever, as she’s sampled constantly in current hits by artists like Kanye West. She was even on Celebrity Ghost Stories where, we can only assume, she kicked the ghost the funk out. Suggested attire: leather pants.
The Band Perry, Aug. 12
The Band Perry, a female fronted young trio, is actually a highly entertaining live act and the rare example of what’s right with country music these days. Expect a packed grandstand as the Taylor Swift tween audience loves them as much as their Tim McGraw-centric parents. Suggested attire: Daisy dukes.
The B-52s, Aug. 13
Like many of us, the B-52s are getting old. Really old. Kate Pierson, the redheaded, bee-hive-sporting founding member just turned 67! Still, she and company put on a fun show, and getting to see thousands of people scream the words to “Love Shack” at the top of their lungs is a sight to behold. Suggested attire: neon.
Long before they were best-known for a Geico commercial, the two ladies, along with DJ Spinderella, were the undisputed queens of hip-hop. Their signature song “Push It” is the rare old-school hip-hop anthem that is still capable of packing a dance floor, or the fair’s dirt-track grand stand. Suggested attire: gold rope chains.
Ventura County Fair, Aug. 5-16. Musical performances are free with fair admission. For more information, visit www.venturacountyfair.org.