When the South Carolina State Fair announced its grandstand concert lineup a few months ago, organizers achieved something rare for local music festivals: they produced a name that caused a reaction.
The Roots, the hip-hop group that is also the house band for NBC’s “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon,” caused a stir on Twitter and Facebook. And the reaction was overwhelmingly positive. Many who logged into the discussion were shocked that such a well-known band, in a genre that isn’t a major draw at local festivals that draw more than 2,000 people, would be a headliner at the fair.
Country singers Trace Adkins and Rodney Atkins, along with G. Love & Special Sauce and Styx are other big-name performers this year, following last year’s lineup that included country stars Darius Rucker and Miranda Lambert and alt-folksters The Avett Brothers. Country, naturally, has always been a staple at the fair, but hip-hop?
Another source of surprise: ticket pricing. The Roots tickets cost $10, and the most expensive ticket is for Adkins at $15. (Last year, tickets for Avett Brothers and Rucker were $20; In 2006, it cost $39.50 to see Adkins with Billy Currington and Jason Aldean at the Colonial Life Arena.)
Tickets for the grandstand concerts go on sale at 10 a.m. today. The fair opens Oct. 12. The Roots aren’t the only band adding hype to the lineup. Nancy Smith, the fair’s assistant manager, said folks have been calling about Larry Gatlin and the Gatlin Brothers, a country-leaning band. Tickets cost $1 for the band’s concert.