One of the most popular attractions of the Indiana State Fair was The Free Stage which took place Aug. 7 – 23. Presented were 18 daily concerts featuring performers on the rise and some well known names as well.
Photographer Joe Miller covered three of these events. Herein are his snapshot reviews as reported via email to atombash.com. Also included is a slideshow of photos Miller shot.
Village People – Sept. 17
“Entertaining many generations during their existence, two of the original members are still with the Village People. Original band members Felipe Rose (Native American character) and Alex Briley (soldier character) both provided lead vocals throughout the show along plus some extra style and flair with a flag twirl dance. Ray Simpson (cop character) who’s been with Village People since 1979 continues to be the lead voice of the group. Crowd favorite was cowboy character Jim Newman. One of the most recent additions to the group on 2013, Newman was the most animated and commanded the most attention.”
Big & Rich – Sept. 18
“In true Big & Rich fashion, there was something for everyone in the show. Cowboy Troy’s rapping/rhyming always contrasted yet complimented the group’s heavy country sound. Perhaps the more impressive aspect of B&R’s entire set was the sense of inclusion they projected, from the subtle messaging on Big Kenny’s guitar rendition of “Love Everyone” to the band’s invitation to U.S military personnel to join them onstage. It was also evident when when band friend, two feet tall Fred Gill from Seymour, Ind..was invited to sing along and entertain onstage with the band. There were many moments of brotherhood, such as these, displayed throughout the set. John Rich’s bedazzled cowboy boots also caused a stir as did lyrics from “Save a Horse (Ride a Cowboy)” — “Well I don’t give a dang about nothing I’m singing and Bling-Blinging.”
The Henningsens – Sept. 21
“The Henningsens wrapped up the State Fair country music sets with a more traditional country stage show. The farm family group from rural Illinois (father Brian Henningsen, daughter Clara and son Aaron) truly embraced the theme of this year’s Indiana State Fair “Year of the Farmer” with their song “Why I farm” as a direct homage to their family’s farming roots. The group also now partners with Beck’s Hybrids seed company to embrace and raise awareness of the true lifestyle of the American Farmer. They even offered a free download of their track from the whyifarm.com site. Overall The Henningsens’ music was very relatable to Midwestern and rural life. Their title track “American Beautiful” conveyed a universal, cross-section of people winding their way through life, as they discover their own unique identities, yet never losing touch with their American roots in the process and embracing them instead.”