Toby Keith, Southern rock show featuring Tritt, Daniels coming to Delaware State Fair

Travis Tritt, shown performing at Dover Downs Hotel and Casino in 2010, will be on the bill at next summer’s Delaware State Fair in Harrington. (Delaware State News photo by Andrew West)

HARRINGTON — In time for the holidays, the Delaware State Fair announced Friday morning two of the 10 nights of entertainment for the 2018 Summer Concert Series to held at the M&T Bank Grandstand.

This year, the fair will welcome country star Toby Keith on July 19 with Cape Henlopen High School graduate Jimmie Allen opening the show.
On July 25, the grandstand will see Southern Uprising: A Southern Rock Revival with Travis Tritt, Charlie Daniels, The Marshall Tucker Band and The Outlaws.

The fair, in its 99th year, runs July 19-28.

Mr. Keith, a multiple Delaware State Fair performer, was last at the fair in 2011. He was last in the area in 2015, performing at the first and only Delaware Junction festival, also at the fairgrounds in Harrington.

“He has a fan following very similar to Brantley Gilbert,” said Danny Aguilar, assistant general manager of the Delaware State Fair.

“People love his music. He has very committed and longstanding fans. It’s a great way to kick the fair off with someone of his caliber.”

The last couple of years have seen a pre-fair concert kickoff on the Wednesday of the first week but Mr. Aguilar said that will not be the case in 2018.
Gates for the Toby Keith show open at 6:30 p.m. and the music starts at 7:30. Tickets range from $54 to $94.

Doors open at 6 p.m. for the Southern Uprising show with the music beginning at 7 p.m. Tickets are $31-71.

“We’re real excited about this show,” Mr. Aguilar said.

“Travis Tritt and Charlie Daniels are bucket list artists with incredible longevity along with the Marshall Tucker Band and The Outlaws.”

Mr. Tritt was last in this area in 2010 at Dover Downs. Mr. Daniels played a storm-shortened set at the state fair in 2005 and played at Sussex County’s Punkin Chunkin in 2005 and 2008.

Advance tickets for fair admission and concerts will go on sale Nov. 17 at noon and can be purchased online at www.delawarestatefair.com, or by calling eTix at 1-800-514-3849.

Mr. Aguilar said he hopes to have two other concerts announced before Christmas.

“As we confirm the shows, we’ll roll them out,” he said.

“People have been telling us from a financial standpoint, please don’t put all 10 shows out at the same time. People love having some shows available to purchase for Christmas gifts.”

Mr. Aguilar expects next year’s lineup to be heavy on country acts along with the annual demolition derby and craft beer festival. A monster truck show is still undecided, he said.

The VIP Loft will also be available for fans in 2018.

Shows at Quillen Arena

Mr. Aguilar also said Friday that the Quillen Arena on the state fairgrounds should soon see a couple of concerts outside of the fair time frame.

He’s hoping to have a show booked in the venue in late May or early June and another in late August or early September.

“We have offers out to two acts for the spring and fall. They are both very strong, up-and-coming artists and we’re hopeful it work out,” he said.
Mr. Aguilar said holding concerts at Quillen seems like a natural fit.

“The arena has multiple uses throughout the year with things like equestrian and dog shows throughout the year but we thought why not do some more offseason stuff to get the Delaware State Fair out in the forefront,” he said.

“We have some holes in the schedule where we could potentially create a concert series. The arena has a capacity just north of 5,000 people where we could attract some medium-sized artists. The place has good acoustics and the nice thing is that it’s covered so wouldn’t have to worry about rain.

“We’re looking forward to expanding this into a viable opportunity. Why not fully utilize it?”

Reach features editor Craig Horleman at chorl@newszap.com

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