Memorable Moments at the California Mid-State Fair: A Glimpse into SLO County Residents’ Concert Experiences
The Allure of Music Legends
The California Mid-State Fair in Paso Robles has long been a beloved institution, attracting music lovers from all walks of life. Over the years, this annual event has been graced by a myriad of music legends, leaving indelible memories in the hearts of those fortunate enough to have witnessed their performances.
From Buck Owens and his Buckaroos, who took the stage in 1969, to the likes of Aerosmith, Tom Petty, Rod Stewart, Justin Bieber, Cardi B, Garth Brooks, George Strait, Blake Shelton, and Miranda Lambert, the fair has been a platform for a diverse range of artists. This year, the Grandstand Arena concert lineup promises stellar performances by Pitbull, Tim McGraw, Luke Bryan, Nelly, Sammy Hagar, Lauren Daigle, and Parker McCollum.
A Trip Down Memory Lane
In an effort to capture the sentiment attached to these concerts, Kathe Tanner, both a regular concertgoer and former co-owner of a bakery supplying cakes to the headliners, reached out to her family, friends, and social media followers for their standout fair concert experiences.
Prompted by her question, she received an overwhelming response of more than 80 different acts that had left an indelible mark on the attendees. From swing dancing to Alan Jackson, to witnessing Dolly Parton, Kenny Rogers, Bob Dylan, Johnny Cash, Linda Ronstadt, and Huey Lewis and the News perform, it became clear that the California Mid-State Fair had served as a hub for an eclectic mix of musical genres.
Some respondents, however, found it challenging to choose a single favorite show, having been blessed with the opportunity to attend numerous concerts over the years. Gloria Fiscalini reminisced about her 20s and 30s, when she would wait in line for days to secure front row seats, while Sandi Gross-Pound emphasized the fair’s enchanting atmosphere on a summer’s evening.
An Intergenerational Experience
Drawing upon her own experiences, Tanner’s personal recollections paint a vivid picture of the fair’s impact. As a vendor at the Upper Crust Bakery booth, she was privy to the joys of hearing the music and the collective energy of the crowds. Then, in a later year, she and her family decided to fully immerse themselves in the fair experience by buying tickets to every single concert. The lineup that year boasted an impressive array of talent, including Randy Travis, Bobby Brown, Jackson Browne, Tom Petty, Kenny Loggins, John Denver, and Sheena Easton.
Sharing a memory of attending a Tom Petty and Smokey Robinson concert with her granddaughter Tina, Tanner highlights the role of the fair in creating intergenerational moments and broadening horizons. She also fondly recounts a more recent fair concert attended alongside her granddaughters Caity and Lyssie Tanner, who thoroughly enjoyed alternative rock bands Goo Goo Dolls and Matchbox Twenty.
The Elements of Nostalgia
Inevitably, certain concerts are cemented in memory not just for the performances, but also for the unique circumstances or unexpected occurrences that took place. Tanner vividly recalls a freezing evening when Sheena Easton wore a very revealing dress, only to have a member of the audience offer her his heavy jacket to keep warm. The crowd enthusiastically endorsed the idea, resulting in a memorable moment of camaraderie and audience participation.
An Editorial on the Power of Live Music
The California Mid-State Fair has consistently delivered memorable moments, creating a connection between artists and their audience that cannot be replicated in any other setting. Live music transcends time and place, bringing people together under the shared experience of harmonies, melodies, and a collective celebration of the musicianship that shapes our cultural landscape.
In our increasingly digital and isolated world, the power of live performance is a reminder of the importance of community, connection, and shared human experiences. Music reaches beyond words, capturing raw emotion and evoking memories that endure long after the final note fades away.
As the 2023 California Mid-State Fair opens its gates, attendees old and new are undoubtedly filled with anticipation, eager to create new memories while cherishing the echoes of concerts past.
Advice for Fairgoers
For those fortunate enough to attend the fair, it is essential to embrace the experience in its entirety. Take the opportunity to witness performances by both established artists and emerging talents, as the fair showcases a diverse range of musical genres. Whether it’s the nostalgia of familiar tunes or the excitement of discovering new sounds, the fair offers an unparalleled platform for musical exploration.
Be prepared for the unexpected, as fair concerts often bring about moments of spontaneity and interaction between artists and fans. Embrace the camaraderie of the crowd, for collective experiences often forge lasting memories.
Finally, remember the power of live music to transcend boundaries and connect us all. In a world that can sometimes feel divided, let the fair be a reminder of our shared humanity, as we gather to celebrate the universal language of music.
<< photo by Photographer Liam Gillan >>
The image is for illustrative purposes only and does not depict the actual situation.