Take a break from all the cheese curds, mini donuts and bacon (or don’t), and grab a seat at these Minnesota State Fair Grandstand performances

All images by Minnesota State Fair

By Kyle Smelter

Pop Quiz: what do Nickelback, Jim Gaffigan, Usher and Garrison Keillor have in common? Queue the Jeopardy music now. 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 ½, 1. Time! They’ll all be taking the stage at the Grandstand at this year’s Minnesota State Fair.

That’s right: Throughout the 12 days of the fair some of the biggest names in entertainment will put on performances to cap off a day filled with fried food, carnival rides and games, Sweet Martha’s Cookies and plenty of walking. Here’s a full list of Grandstand performers:

A portrait of Nickelback

Thursday, Aug. 24: Nickelback with special guest Daughtry

Responsible for hits, including “Photograph,” “Savin’ Me,” “Far Away,” “If Everyone Cared,” “Rockstar” and the best-selling rock song of the 2000s by Billboard, “How You Remind Me,” the post-grunge hard rock band from our neighbor to the north will bring their electric performance to the stage to kickoff “The Great Minnesota Get Together.” Tickets

A portrait of Stevie Nicks.

Friday, Aug. 25: Stevie Nicks with special guest Vanessa Carlton

One piece of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame band Fleetwood Mac, Stevie Nicks helped the group achieve superstardom in the United States and U.K. Their album, Rumours, spent 31 weeks at the No. 1 spot on the Billboard 200 chart and took home the crown for Album of the Year at the Grammy’s. Tickets

A portrait of Jim Gaffigan.

Saturday, Aug. 26: Jim Gaffigan

Comedy legend Jim Gaffigan brings his act full of food, family and observational jokes to the Minnesota State Fair. Aside from a successful stand-up career, Gaffigan has appeared in more than 200 television commercials, nearly 30 movies, including Super Troopers, It’s Kind of a Funny Story and Away We Go. He’s also left his mark on television shows such as The Daily Show, The Ellen DeGeneres Show, Conan O’Brien and CBS Sunday Morning. Tickets

A portrait of Toby Keith.

Sunday, Aug. 27: Toby Keith presented by Ford F-Series with special guest 3 Doors Down

A regular performer for U.S. troops around the world and responsible for some of the most popular country songs of all time including “Should’ve Been a Cowboy” and “Red Solo Cup,” Toby Keith has sold more than 40 million albums throughout the course of his career, and more than a million fans have attended his tours for more than a decade straight. Tickets

A portrait of Frankie Valli.

Monday, Aug. 28: Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons

When you have a Tony-winning musical in its 11th year on Broadway that chronicles the life of you and your band, you must be doing something right. Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons, responsible for classics such as “Big Girls Don’t Cry,” “Walk Like a Man,” “Rag Doll” and “Can’t Take My Eyes Off You,” will grace the Grandstand’s stage for music lovers of all ages to enjoy. Tickets

A portrait of John Mellencamp.

Tuesday, Aug. 29: John Mellencamp: Sad Clowns & Hillbillies Tour with special guest Carlene Carter

“A little ditty ‘bout Jack and Diane—two American kids growing up in the heartland.” Chances are if you’ve turned the radio on and surfed the channels within the last 30 years, you’ve come across this classic. And if you grab your tickets soon enough,  you just might hear it live along with John Mellencamp’s other hits such as “I Need A Lover” and “Hurts So Good.” Tickets

Pentatonix's multicolored logo.

Wednesday, Aug. 30: Pentatonix with special guest Us The Duo

With an impressive three Grammy Awards, more than 2 billion views on their YouTube channel and multiple albums topping Billboard’s Top 200 Chart, Pentatonix is one of the premier a cappella groups in the world. Tickets

A picture of Usher performing and holding a microphone stand.

Thursday, Aug. 31: Usher with special guest WatchTheDuck

An entertainer to the core, Usher released his debut album at the young age of 14 and never looked back. Fast forward to 75 million sold albums, eight Grammy Awards, and a plethora of chart-topping singles, and Usher has become a household name across the globe. Tickets

Garrison Keiller performing and holding a microphone.

Friday, Sept. 1: The Minnesota Show with Garrison Keiller

A Minnesota and radio icon, Garrison Keiller created and produced the wildly popular variety show, A Prairie Home Companion. For nearly 42 years, 3.5 million listeners across the country tuned in to 700 public radio stations to hear some of the biggest names in music, tongue-in-cheek radio drama and comedy. Tickets

A portrait of Phantogram.

Saturday, Sept. 2: The Current’s Music On-A-Stick featuring Phantogram with special guests Lucius and Now, Now.

Formerly known as Charlie Everywhere, the musical duo of Josh Carter and Sarah Barthel have released three studio albums, four EPs, eight singles. They have collaborated with the likes of The Flaming Lips, Miley Cyrus and Big Boi, and now they’re bringing their electric sound and airy vocals for fairgoers’ enjoyment. Tickets

Sunday, Sept. 3: MSF Amateur Talent Contest Finals sponsored by Jack’s Pizza

Starting in late July, nearly 400 talented performers including musicians, dancers and more audition their act for a shot at Minnesota State Fair fame. Of those initial hopefuls, 126 move onto the semifinals, with only 26 making it to the biggest stage at the fair for the finals. Come prepared to be entertained as finalists compete for $20,000 in cash awards and Jack’s Pizza prize packs. The best part? It’s free to attend.

Portrait of Sam Hunt.

Monday, Sept. 4: Sam Hunt with special guests Lanco and Ryan Follese

From college quarterback to country singer-songwriter, Sam Hunt threw a Hail Mary on a career in music when a career in football fell flat. The rest is history. With a No. 1 album on the country chart and a handful of hit singles, including “Take Your Time,” “House Party” and “Break Up in a Small Town,” Hunt shows no sign of slowing down. Tickets


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