State Fair concerts to be held at Conseco Fieldhouse
Next year's Indiana State Fair will not use the stage at the main grandstand for concerts. That's where seven people were killed when the stage rigging fell into the crowd just before the Sugarland concert in August.
Next year, Conseco Fieldhouse will be the main concert venue. Fair officials wouldn't speculate beyond 2012 other than saying, "We will not construct a temporary stage at the fair," said Cindy Hoye, State Fair executive director.
The decision comes three months after the grandstand stage collapsed before the Sugarland concert. Seven people died and dozens of others were injured. Chopper 13 flew over Thursday and found the stage cleaned up and the damaged rigging removed.
In the aftermath of the disaster, Maroon 5 and Train concert was moved to Conseco, as was the Sugarland concert.
While the Fever normally play in mid-August, next summer they'll have a break due to the summer Olympics.
"All the stars are coming together in 2012 so we'll be able to provide more time during those couple of weeks," said Rick Fuson, Pacers Sports & Entertainment.
Those buying a concert ticket will also get a ticket to the fair, with the hope they'll still come for the many other events.
The big unknown: will moving concerts to Conseco hurt business at the fair even if concertgoers are given free fair admission?
"That's our job to have attractive offerings so we'll have to end up seeing how that works," said Andre Lacey, State Fair Commission.
Plus the fair hopes to borrow a page from the Indy 500 by shuttling fairgoers to Conseco in buses.
Band day and other events will continue at the grandstand and on the free stage. Fair officials say large concerts will return to the fairgrounds. They're just not sure when or where.
"Where we're actually looking at is the renovation of the Pepsi Coliseum. It could be incorporated into the renovation," said Lacey.
More from the State Fair:
"After August 13, the Pacers organization epitomized the 'Hoosier Spirit' by offering unprecedented assistance with scheduling, staffing and logistics that allowed us to continue the Train and Maroon 5 show at Conseco Fieldhouse," State Fair Executive Director Cindy Hoye said. "Their cooperation and generosity can't be overstated, and we're thrilled to extend our partnership into 2012."
The State Fair Commission expects to have several concert announcements over the next few months for the run of the fair, Aug. 3 - 19, 2012. All concert tickets will include fair admission that will be good any day of the Indiana State Fair, and plans for a possible shuttle system between the State Fairgrounds and Conseco Fieldhouse are being explored.
The grandstand will still be used for a variety of other events highlighted by the return of the Indy Mile Motorcycle race, a State Fair tradition until the late 1990s. Here is a list of traditional grandstand events that have been confirmed for 2012 with more to be scheduled:
Indy Mile Motorcycle Race
Monster Truck shows
Grand Circuit Harness Races
Farmers' Day Parade
In addition, the 2012 State Fair will feature more performances on the Energy Armor Free Stage in the northwest corner of the fairgrounds. Normally a site for nightly special events and free concerts by up-and-coming artists, the stage will have programming every day of the fair from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Other entertainment has already been secured for next year's fair highlighted by the incredible Super Dogs show that "wows" audiences everywhere it goes. The show is a highly choreographed, energetic display of animal agility, popular music and audience participation that entertains nearly one million fans each year!
Two other big attractions for next year's fair are still in development. A new Food Pavilion will be created so fairgoers can learn more about the origins of their food, how it applies to their health and the hunger issues many people face. It's also where visitors will able to sample a variety of delicious Indiana foods. Another grand exhibit done in partnership with the Indiana Soybean Alliance will be detailed in the coming weeks.