Bands perform at the 2022 Western Idaho Fair in Boise, ID

After taking a year off due to the pandemic, the Western Idaho Fair returned last year with a huge bang.

Just like Treasure Valley concert fans.

With an average of 12,700 people per night, the grandstand shows attendance records. Rapper Nelly has attracted 14,800 titanic fans. Country singer Jon Pardi shot a stunning 17,200. Deprived of live music for what seemed like an eternity, the Gem Staters flooded Expo Idaho.

Expect another enthusiastic turnout in 2022.

Marking its 125th anniversary, the Western Idaho Fair will return Aug. 19-28 “with a jaw-dropping lineup of performers, competitions and attractions,” he promises.

The ICCU Grandstand concert series will feature musical headliners for five consecutive nights. You won’t need tickets. The shows are free with a fair entry fee. (Prices at the end of this article.)

Please note: places are limited and on a first come, first served basis. Doors open at 6 p.m. The music starts at 7:30 p.m. each evening.

From country to rock to hip-hop, here’s what’s on the program.

Chris Janson

Monday August 22

Country singer-songwriter Chris Janson exploded in 2015 with his full-length debut, “Buy Me a Boat.” He’s had several other hits since then, including the relatively recent “Good Vibes” and “Done.” He’s also a tried-and-true product on stage – and not just because he’s always up for a harmonica solo. Rolling Stone called it a “living legacy in the making”. Janson will release her fourth album, “All In,” on April 29.

Ja Rule & Ashanti

Tuesday August 23

Rapper-singer Ja Rule enjoyed massive success in the early 2000s, often teaming up with female vocalists including Jennifer Lopez and — yes — Ashanti. In 2002, Ashanti’s hits “Foolish” and “What’s Luv?” were No. 1 and No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100 at the same time, making her the first woman to do so. (She got her star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame earlier this month.) Fans will go crazy for the vibe the duo creates with massive hits “Mesmerize” and “Always on Time.” Ja Rule has sold over 30 million albums worldwide; Ashanti more than 27 million.

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Singer Ashanti, left, and rapper Ja Rule will team up for a hip-hop and R&B night. Handout

Pat Benatar and Neil Giraldo

Wednesday August 24.

It was a “Heartbreaker” in 2015 when singer Pat Benatar and her guitar-shredding husband had to cancel their trip to Boise at the Western Idaho Fair. But they came back the following year and rocked. Six years later, they would return to release hit after classic rock hit: “We Belong”, “Invincible”, “Love Is A Battlefield”, “Promises In The Dark”, “We Live For Love” and “Hell Is For Children”. A four-time Grammy winner, Benatar also has several other terrific setlist options. She had 19 Top 40 songs.

Stone Temple Drivers

Thursday August 25

First, the good news: Stone Temple Pilots were a powerhouse band of the early to mid-1990s, unleashing a mainstream grunge onslaught that spawned the hits ‘Sex Type Thing’, ‘Wicked Garden’ and the classic the alt-rock radio “Plush”. Now the obvious news: troubled singer Scott Weiland died in 2015 of an accidental overdose. As long as fans are aware of the situation, everyone should have fun hearing replacement vocalist Jeff Gutt and original STP guitar and bass foundation Dean and Robert DeLeo.

Billy Currington

Friday August 26

The concerts in the gallery begin with country, and they will end with country. Billy Currington can do it. His first hit, “Walk a Little Straighter”, topped the country charts in 2003. He went on to have 10 more No. 1s over the next decade and a half: “Good Directions”, “People Are Crazy, “”That’s How the Country Boys Roll”, “Pretty Good at Drinking Beer”, “Drop Me Easy”, “Hey Girl”, “We Are Tonight”, “Don’t It”, “It Don’t Hurt Like It Used To” and “Do I Make You Wanna”.

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Billy Currington will play the last night. Handout

The Western Idaho Fair is held at Expo Idaho, 5610 N. Glenwood St. Advance tickets to the fair are available at idahofair.com for $10 adult, $9 senior 62+, $8 child 6-6. 11 years old. Children 5 and under enter free. You can also purchase bundles to save money on admission and carnival wristbands.

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Jon Pardi performs to a record crowd at the Western Idaho Fair in 2021. Tyler Leaman

This story was originally published April 15, 2022 7:00 a.m.

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Entertainment writer and opinion columnist Michael Deeds chronicles the good life in Boise: restaurants, concerts, culture, cool stuff. Acts came to fruition at the Idaho Statesman as an intern in 1991 before taking on roles such as sportswriter, editor and music critic. Over the years, his freelance work has spanned from writing album reviews for the Washington Post to hyping Boise in that airline magazine you left on the plane. Deeds holds a bachelor’s degree in editorial journalism from the University of Nebraska.

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