This state fair a lot like the others

Tuesday, April 6, 2010 at 12:16pm

With Metro’s fairgrounds ceasing operations by the end of the year, the fair board is revving up for a relatively busy last hurrah that includes a state fair, several concerts and monthly racing.

The final state fair, scheduled for Sept. 10-19, will be operated by Nashville-based Rockhouse Partners and North American Midway Entertainment, which served as the vendor for last year’s fair. A lease agreement between the board and company representatives should be signed within a few days.

Updating the board on their plans Tuesday, Chrysty Fortner of Rockhouse said this year’s state fair will use the same admissions prices charged in 2008 — $8 at the gate and $4 in advance. Wristbands for rides will cost $25 at the event and $20 in advance. Parking for the state fair will be free.

Free admission will be offered to students in Davidson County, as well as its seven surrounding counties.

Fortner said the layout for this year’s fair will have a “festival feel,” with the agriculture components integrated with live music and the carnival. She said the company plans to add a “Fanfair”-style stage and concert series. Musical acts are to be revealed soon.

Traditions she said the state fair will continue include the opening ceremonies, green energy expositions, Volunteer Village, Kids Country, and the entertainment state and food court.

But before the 2010 Tennessee State fair even beings, Fastrax Entertainment and ABC Corp. will be using the facility’s grandstands to hold between six and 12 concerts through the end of the summer.

Ron Jennett, owner of Fastrax, said he should the musical lineup in the next 30 days. Tickets for each show will cost between $10 and $15.

“We’re not going to bring artists out here who nobody’s ever heard of and try to put on a show,” Jennett said. “We’re trying to bring good shows back to this facility.”

Each month, the facility’s racetrack will also feature monthly local racing. In the past, the racing series had operated on a weekly basis.

While these and other events take place, a task force appointed by Mayor Karl Dean will be channeling public input to study the future of the 117-acre fairgrounds property off Nolensville Pike.

The task force, working in conjunction with the Nashville Civic Design Center, will kick off a series of monthly meetings Monday, April 12, at 6:30 p.m. at Wilson Hall, which is located at the fairgrounds.

10 Comments on this post:

By: 117_acres on 4/6/10 at 11:23

I pray that a very large meteor large enough to cover 117 acres will fall from the sky and level the fairground property. The last four years of this debate has been like the movie Ground Hog Day. Although progress has been made it just seems like it is the same old song every year. Unless the concert promoter has deep pockets it will be tough to do 6 to 12 concerts at the fairgrounds. If the overhead for each show is at around 100,000 then that is a total of 1.2 million dollars based on 12 shows. A couple of loses at the gate and 6 to 12 concerts will turn into 1 or 2 concerts. Unless Beaver Productions, AC Entertainment out of Knoxville, or Clear Channel are involved in the concerts at the fairgrounds it will be tough to make money because this entities typically promote the biggest and best concerts in Tennessee. Also, promoting outdoor events is always risky because you are dealing with the weather and most of the people other than college ages kids who attend rock and roll or country concerts are blue collar folks and in case Ron Jennett hasn't figured out the economy is in the tank and people aren't spending money to go to concerts like they did when the economy was stronger.

By: 117_acres on 4/6/10 at 1:07

I pray that a very large meteor large enough to cover 117 acres will fall from the sky and level the fairground property. The last four years of this debate has been like the movie Ground Hog Day. Although progress has been made it just seems like it is the same old song every year. Unless the concert promoter has deep pockets it will be tough to do 6 to 12 concerts at the fairgrounds. If the overhead for each show is at around 100,000 then that is a total of 1.2 million dollars based on 12 shows. A couple of losses at the gate and 6 to 12 concerts will turn into 1 or 2 concerts. Unless Beaver Productions, AC Entertainment out of Knoxville, or Clear Channel are involved in the concerts at the fairgrounds it will be tough to make money because these entities typically promote the biggest and best concerts in Tennessee. Also, promoting outdoor events is always risky because you are dealing with the weather and most of the people other than college age kids who attend rock and roll or country concerts are typically blue collar folks and in case Ron Jennett hasn't figured out the economy is in the tank and people aren't spending money to go to concerts like they did when the economy was stronger.

By: airvols on 4/6/10 at 1:33

This just shows you how that there is no interest in this subject. If you can get bloggers on this site to post, it's a dead subject. They talk about and comment on everything on here. Just make a decision on this place and bulldoze the land, move the flee market and move on. Geeeee!

By: concernedtaxpayer on 4/6/10 at 3:31

I agree that the fairgrounds site needs to be moved. However, everyone knows that the county is incapable of bearing the expenses for another fairgrounds. As a result, since this property is not costing taxpayers one penny, I believe that the city should schedule as many events as possible for this property.

By: bfra on 4/7/10 at 3:43

117 - If a meteor does fall on the fairgrounds, I hope it also contaminates what ever property, you are sitting on your backside, hoping to make a fortune on, also. Are you a slum lord? Sounds like it!

By: JUDYBOODO on 4/7/10 at 11:06

Removing the fairgrounds, weekly racing, the flea market etc only shows how out of touch Carl Dean is with most of the people that he is suppose to represent. The guy is a ego maniac, look at the article about the bond ratings going down. This, folks is going to cost you a lot of money in the long run. No matter how they try to spin it. Redevelopment of the fairgrounds is another way he thinks he can put his stamp on Nashville, what the people want be dammed!

By: GUARDIAN on 4/7/10 at 4:19

The Carl Dean administration like the obumma administration is not and will not listen to the people. To take the State Fair, the weekly racing program and the flea market away from the every day people who enjoy them so much is almost criminal. Sitting on the throne does not make you a wise ruler.

By: pswindle on 4/7/10 at 9:39

We need to keep something here in Middle TN. They came in and took Opryland away from us. That was a big impact on the economy of Middle TN. I still do not believe that the Convention Center will make that big of differnce.

By: shef2 on 4/7/10 at 10:58

Thank you Judy & pswindle. I hope the Fair this year is wonderful - I'll be attending, as usual-! However, the $10 to $15 EXTRA just might be too pricey... Let's see who they book for these concerts...

By: MAmom on 2/13/11 at 10:36

UPDATE:

We now know the lease was given to Rockhouse Partners for approx $100,000 AND the State Fair was a loss in 2010 (probably for the first time ever) because of the way it was handled... per design, of course.

Links to metro emails on the enclave blogspot expose more about this.
There are some 8/5/10 emails between Buck Dozier & Howell Townes about the State Fair deal with Rockhouse. The Fair Board TURNED DOWN a guaranteed minimum lease payment of $250,000 (with the potential for more) because Rockhouse was supposed to pay higher Ag exhibit prizes.

Then Rockhouse paid shockingly lower prize monies to exhibitors - an 80% reduction in money premiums from 2009 to 2010. Buck Dozier's email says Rockhouse EXPECTED TO GET MONEY FROM THE MAYOR for prizes. Sounds like Rockhouse had some kind of relationship or understanding with Dean.

Dozier also said that the agricultural community is not happy & it will be tough to get them back "in my judgment." More sabotage by Dean. Hurting the Ag community in 2010 & potentially alienating them from participating in State Fair activities in the future.

More sabotage by the Fair Board & Dean.

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"But before the 2010 Tennessee State fair even beings, Fastrax Entertainment and ABC Corp. will be using the facility’s grandstands to hold between six and 12 concerts through the end of the summer."

Were there concerts at the Fairgrounds in 2010?