Delaware State Fair takes lofty approach to concerts

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Country Music Hall of Famers Alabama will play the Delaware State Fair July 25. (Submitted photo)

HARRINGTON — As anyone who has been to the Firefly Music Festival or either of the two country music events held last summer can tell you, watching the concerts in style is the way to go.

The Delaware State Fair this year joins the trend of VIP viewing with The Loft, a two-tiered viewing platform, which also includes a Pit pass or a premium reserved seat.

Along with affording a unique view of the action, The Loft experience comes with:

• Free VIP parking

• Free gate admission

• A credential and lanyard

• Priority concert entry

• Private restroom

• $10 pre-show food and drink voucher and exclusive access to the VIP area in The Roost

• Free water and soda at The Loft

• Private cash bar with craft and domestic beer and wine options.

The cost is $150 for three of the shows and $125 for the Jake Owen concert on the special Wednesday night date when the fair is not officially open and some VIP options will not be available.

Loft tickets for the Little Big Town/Kristian Bush show on July 24 are already sold out.

As Tuesday afternoon, about 12 tickets were still available to the Jake Owen concert, the July 25 Alabama show, the July 27 concert featuring X Ambassadors, Rachel Platten and A Great Big World; and the July 29 show with Delaware’s own George Thorogood and The Destroyers with The Fabulous Thunderbirds.

Only 100 tickets were put on sale for each show to make the experience that more special, according to Delaware State Fair Assistant General Manager Danny Aguilar.

“People are always looking for that unique experience, whether it’s a meet and greet with the artist or just unique ways to see their favorite entertainer,” he said.

“We had an opportunity to purchase this two-story observation deck/viewing platform to create a VIP experience with front-gate parking, easy entry to the venue, food and drink vouchers and that different perspective to the concert. We’re pretty excited about it.”

The Loft is located right before Track A on the left side of the stage from the audience’s perspective.

“It is not impeding any existing seats. It’s strategically located near the special seating as well as The Pit,” Mr. Aguilar

Country music star Jake Owen will perform a pre-fair concert Wednesday night. (Delaware State News/Marc Clery)

Country music star Jake Owen will perform a pre-fair concert Wednesday night. (Delaware State News/Marc Clery)

said.

He said festival officials got an up-close look at VIP amenities at last year’s Delaware Junction country music festival in Harrington and are eager to see the fans’ reactions.

“Our folks here are going to more and more festivals to see what they are doing. We’re going to try this out and really take our time with it, talk to folks and make any adjustments necessary for the future,” Mr. Aguilar said.

So far, fair officials are buoyed by the response The Loft has been getting with one sellout and the other ones getting close to that point.

“We didn’t want to oversubscribe and put too many VIP tickets on sale. But it’s been received very well, especially considering we put them on sale after the general tickets,” Mr. Aguilar said.

The fair’s standing-room only Pit area is going into its fourth year, offering fans a closer look at their favorites.

“That’s been really great for super fans of the artists. I think they enjoy the opportunity to stand up and dance without feeling like they are blocking the view of the person behind them,” Mr. Aguilar said.

The concert lineup begins a day early this year with the special Wednesday show with country stars Jake Owen and Granger Smith with Earl Dibbles Jr.

For that show, the fair itself will not be open. There will be no carnival rides, buildings will be closed and there will only be a few food vendors.

Gate admission will be free, however.

“We had already drafted a schedule when we got wind that the two big country music festivals from last year (Big Barrel and Delaware Junction) were not returning. We felt there was a void in our country music scheduling and started to make some calls,” Mr. Aguilar said.

“We lined up Little Big Town and saw that Jake was available on a non-fair day. We asked ourselves if we could pull this off and we are going to give it a go.”

Other concerts this year include ventriloquist Jeff Dunham on July 23, contemporary Christian artists For King and Country, Sidewalk Prophets and Jordan Feliz July 26 and Blues Traveler wrapping up the fair up during a craft beer festival July 30.

A monster truck show and rodeo on July 21, demolition derby July 22 and horse racing July 28 round out the action.

Another spot to catch live music at the fair is The Roost Beer and Wine Garden.

A change at that venue this year will be the addition of food from Harrington Raceway & Casino’s Bonz Restaurant.

The venue’s catering trailer will be there, serving up snacks such as steamed shrimp and beef and chicken tacos.

For concert tickets and more information, visit delawarestatefair.com or call (302) 398-5020.

Reach features editor Craig Horleman at chorl@newszap.com

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