By Kim Brooks, Express Editor
This summer’s classic rock night at the Great Jones County Fair and Food Fest will feature Lynyrd Skynyrd with Heart! Both bands will perform on Thursday, July 19, starting at 8 p.m.
Tickets for the rock legends’ concert will go on sale Friday, March 16, at 10 a.m. online only. Tickets can be purchased at . The track will have seated bleachers; tickets are $45. The amphitheater tickets are $30, and $25 for the seated hillside. Every year, there is also plenty of free hillside seating options available as well.
This is the third year the fair has featured Lynyrd Skynyrd on its stage. They first came to the Jones County Fair 10 years ago in 2002. They returned in 2005 as well. This will be the first appearance for Heart at the fair.
Fair Manager John Harms said it is hard to get acts to confirm dates for the Jones County Fair because they have to schedule them so far in advance compared to the big arenas. In order to promote and publicize the entertainment at the fair, they have to book the musical talent so far ahead for print material, publications and online.
“There’s so much more to it for us as a county fair entity,” commented Harms. “Some acts don’t want to commit so early. It’s a matter if the band is available and the routing.”
With Lynyrd Skynyrd, Harms said it worked in their schedule to perform at the Great Jones County Fair. “It fell into place nicely.”
With Heart, Harms said they also had the date free in their routing schedule. “They do a great job and have a lot of energy in their music. They are excellent musicians!”
Harms said classic rock acts such as Lynyrd Skynyrd and Heart love performing outdoors in the county fair environment. “It’s a high energy concert,” said Harms.
He expects the track seating tickets to sell quite fast once tickets are on sale.
There are 2,700 track seats to sell, compared to the 4,500 tickets for the SRO (standing room only) track for the Toby Keith and Blake Shelton concerts on Friday and Saturday nights.
“Get online ASAP because you’re vying for seats,” advised Harms.
As for the Friday night Blake Shelton and Josh Thompson concert, there are quite a few tickets left for the track; the amphitheater is sold out. There is also hillside seating available. The Toby Keith concert on Saturday night has roughly 100 track tickets remaining, as well as scattered singles in the amphitheater.
With hits like “Free Bird,” “Sweet Home Alabama,” “What Your Name” and “That Ain’t My America,” the southern rock band Lynyrd Skynyrd is known across generations. They were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2006, and Rolling Stone Magazine included them as one of the 100 Greatest Artists of all time.
Lynyrd Skynyrd released its 12th album in September 2009, “God & Guns,” recorded in Nashville.
The band’s success is also met with tragedy. In 1977, three days after the release of their fifth album, the band’s plane crashed in Mississippi, killing three members of the band: Ronnie Van Zant and Steve and Cassie Gaines, as well their assistant road manager. The band took a 10-year hiatus after the plane crash. Then, in 2009, they lost band members Billy Powell who played with the band since 1970, and Ean Evans who was with them for eight years. Through the years, other band members who passed away included Allen Collins, Leon Wilkeson and Huey Thomasson.
Guitarist Rickey Medlocke said of the band, “A lot of people probably expected us to say enough is enough,” of the passing of so many band members. However, Lynyrd Skynyrd “remains a cultural icon with 60 albums and sales exceeding $30 million.
Founding guitarist Gary Rossington said, “We wanted to show the people that not only are we doing the old material, keeping the music going, but we still have some new tricks up our sleeves, too.”
Harms said, “Their music is so iconic. They (Lynyrd Skynyrd) are the original ‘Mother Goose’ of classic southern rock, copied by many.”
Sisters Ann Wilson and Nancy Wilson make up the popular band Heart, which has been going strong since the 1970s. Heart showed the world that women could rock.
Heart’s hits over the years include: “Crazy on You,” “Magic Man,” “Barracuda,” “What About Love,” “If Looks Could Kill” and “Straight On.” Ann and Nancy not only performed the songs all these years, but they wrote the songs and played the instruments. They did it all.
This past September, Heart was named as one of the 2012 nominees to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, but they were not selected for induction.
This year, in 2012, Heart will have a new album to share with fans of all ages. They are also working on their first autobiography.
The sisters had fame as a team and experienced fame with solo careers over the years. Ann sang songs on the soundtracks for a variety of hit films including “Footloose” and “Tequila Sunrise.” Nancy married famed writer/director Cameron Crowe and performed songs for some of his hits films, “Jerry Maguire” and “Almost Famous.”
Heart has sold over 35 million albums with 11 albums to date. They sold out arenas all over the world and are sure to sell out at the Great Jones County Fair this summer!