Iowan and “American Idol” winner Maddie Poppe leads Iowa State Fair free entertainment lineup

The Iowa State Fair announced this year’s free entertainment lineup Tuesday, a mix of country, rock and tribute acts for fairgoers to partake in without dropping a dime.

One of the notable performers announced was Clarksville, Iowa native and “American Idol” season 16 winner Maddie Poppe, who will take the Susan Knapp Amphitheater stage on the opening night of the fair, Aug. 8.

Conspicuously absent from the announcement was the ever-popular Bud Light stage, the site of many of the fair’s prominent free entertainment acts over the years. According to fair officials, performances have been moved to other stages in 2019 to allow for “new entertainment options.”

Here’s a breakdown of some of the artists announced. A complete listing of dates and locations can be found at

Maddie Poppe (Aug. 8)
Among the entertainers will be Maddie Poppe, the pop singer from Clarksville, Iowa who gained national prominence after winning season 16 of ABC’s “American Idol.” The 21-year-old is releasing her first full length album on May 17, “Whirlwind.”

The Wild Feathers (Aug. 8)
Not that it matters here, but the Wild Feathers have received kudos from Rolling Stone, New York Times, USA Today with their rock-meets-country stylings. The band released its latest album, “Greetings From the Neon Frontier,” last June. Show us your stuff, boys, and you can add ListenIowa to the list (first and prominently, thanks).

Vocal Trash (Aug. 8-18)
Vocal Trash is composed of performers from across the United States who use their talents to promote greener living, from break dancing to using recycled items as instruments.

Ned LeDoux

Ned LeDoux (Aug. 9)
Country artist Ned LeDoux, the son of the late Chris LeDoux, was the drummer in his dad’s band until 2005 when he emerged from behind the kit to take center stage.

The Nadas (Aug. 9)
What Iowa event would be complete without an appearance from Slipk….wait, The Nadas, an Iowa-based group who deliver smooth rock tunes such as l “Long Goodbye,” “Bitter Love,” “Dodged a Bullet” and “Last to Know.”

Logan Mize (Aug. 10)
Logan Mize is a singer/songwriter from Clearwater, Kansas. His latest album, “Come Back Road,” in 2017, debuted in the top 20 Billboard Country Albums and reached #2 on the iTunes Country Charts.

Sweet Tea Trio (Aug. 10-11)
Alabama’s own Sweet Tea Trio is a rising country music group made up of Savannah Coker, Kate Falcon and Victoria Camp. While these young ladies only range in age from 18-20, they have already opened for the likes of Bon Jovi, Alabama, and Kid Rock, who called the group some of the most talented, kindhearted and hard working singers and players he has have ever met.” And they’re hunters to boot (see their Facebook page if you don’t believe us).

Prince Tribute “The Purple Experience” (Aug. 12)
Prince Tribute “The Purple Xperience” is a five-member group from Minneapolis who have been performing since 2011. Lead singer Marshall Charloff recorded with Prince on the album “94 East.” The band is made up of musicians who have played alongside Christina Aguilera, the Backstreet Boys and the Rembrandts.

Hairball  (Aug. 12-13) and Rock of Ages (Aug. 11)
State Fair staple Hairball returns once again to give children of the 80s another taste of the music of their youth — pyrotechnics included — with tributes to the likes of Van Halen, Motley Crue, Prince, Ozzy Osbourne, Alice Cooper and others. And if two nights of 80s goodness isn’t enough, fo the first time, the band from the Broadway hit rock musical “Rock of Ages” will bring their own versions of the hard rockin’ 80s,  performing songs from Bon Jovi, Whitesnake, Foreigner, Journey, Poison, Twisted Sister, Joan Jett, Styx, Pat Benatar and more one night earlier. There’s plenty of time to get your liver in shape for the three-night binge, though, so we recommend you begin training in earnest no later than this weekend.

Jamestown Revival (Aug. 13)
Jamestown Revival, led by Jonathon Clay and Zach Chance, debuted in 2014. Their album “San Isabel” is set to release later this year.


Steven Adler of Guns N’ Roses (Aug. 14)
Steven Adler is best known as the original drummer of Guns N’ Roses (if we need to explain who that group is, you might as well stay home). Adler is the drummer who played on the aforementioned group’s 1987 iconic album, “Appetite For Destruction,” and was later booted from the band in 1990 after infamously (and drunkenly) stumbling onto the drum riser at the start of the band’s appearance at Farm Aid. Adler’s struggles with drugs and alcohol over the years have been well-documented, but the curly-haired skinsman seems to have gotten himself together in recent years, even guest appearing on his former band’s recent tour for a few songs.

Chicks with Hits Featuring Terri Clark, Pam Tillis and Suzy Bogguss (Aug. 14)
Collectively, country artists Terri Clark, Pam Tillis, and Suzy Bogguss have racked up six top 10 singles, more than 10 million records sold, and multiple Grammy and CMA nominations. Kudos for having the guts to go with a name containing the word “chicks,” too, in this politically-correct day and age. For that reason alone, go see them. Just do it.

Flatland Cavalry (Aug. 15)
Texas natives Flatland Cavalry released their sophomore album, “Homeland Insecurity,” in January of 2019. They’ll have to earn more words.

Bob Dorr and the Iowa Music Revue (Aug. 16)
Whether it’s the leader of The Blue Band, radio or TV show host, Bob Dorr is all over the place here in our great state of Iowa. His Iowa Music Revue is a two-hour show with music ranging from blues to rockabilly to Americana to jazz.

Country Gold (Aug. 16)
Tired of tailgates and the farm? If so, you might want to check out The Leroy Van Dyke Country Gold Tour on Aug. 16, featuring Van Dyke, T.G. Sheppard and Mandy Barnett.

Kix (Aug. 17)
Maryland hard rockers Kix return to the State Fair after an energetic performance in 2017 that included such classic rock radio staples as “Cold Blood,” “Don’t Close Your Eyes,” and “Blow My Fuse.” Don’t forget your other guitar player this year, boys.

Nelson (Aug. 18)
The formerly long-maned and blonde twins, Matthew and Gunnar Nelson, have sold more than 6.5 million albums worldwide thanks in part to their debut platter,  “After The Rain,” which featured the No. 1 hit “(Can’t Live Without Your) Love and Affection” and the “After the Rain.” 

Ross Ellis (Aug. 18) and Tyler Rich (Aug. 19)
And for the young bucks, the Fair presents Ross Ellis (named Sirius XM’s latest “Highway Find” with the release of his first single “Home for the Weekend”) and 2018 CMT Listen Up Artist Tyler Rich the following night.

All free entertainment is available with admission. Advanced admission tickets are available for $8 now through August 7. Purchase tickets online at or beginning July 1, tickets will be available at participating Iowa Hy-Vee, Hy-Vee Drug, Fareway, Price Chopper and Cash Saver locations. The Iowa State Fair Ticket Office opens Monday, July 8 for walk-up orders.