Freeborn County Fair Grandstand entertainment announced for 2024

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Oct. 31—American country music group Lonestar will headline the 2024 Freeborn County Fair Grandstand entertainment, the fair board announced Tuesday.

Also to perform are emerging country talent Austin Snell, country and bluegrass singer Ricky Skaggs and Kentucky Thunder, contemporary Christian artist Crowder and rock 'n' roll band Hairball.

The 2024 fair will be July 30 through Aug. 4.

July 30: Austin Snell

A Georgia native and Air Force vet who grew up on a steady diet of Nickelback, Three Doors Down, Creed and Alan Jackson, the Nashville newcomer has bucked Nashville's "10-year town" moniker, arriving in 2022 and quickly starting work to make "grunge country" a household name.

With distorted, dark-energy guitars, thundering drums, and a wounded vocal at the end of its emotional rope, his gritty debut single "Excuse the Mess" has now racked up more than 10 million streams and landed elite playlist placements across Spotify, Apple Music, Pandora and more, as the track co-written with Presley Aaron and Christian Yancey leads the charge into Snell's opening chapter.

The rising star now counts 36 million total streams and over 250,000 active users on TikTok to his credit, plus a rare SiriusXM Highway Find accolade — the same one bestowed on now-superstars like Maren Morris and Luke Combs.

July 31: Ricky Skaggs and Kentucky Thunder

With a life full of music, Ricky Skaggs struck his first chords on a mandolin over 60 years ago and continues to do his part to lead the recent roots revival in music.

A 15-time Grammy Award winner, he entered the world of professional music full-time with his friend, the late country singer, Keith Whitley, in 1971 when the two young musicians were invited to join the band of bluegrass patriarch Ralph Stanley. He soon began to build a reputation for creativity and excitement through live appearances and recordings and then turned his attention to country music in the late 1970s.

With the release of "Waitin' for the Sun to Shine" in 1981, Skaggs reached the top of the country charts and remained there throughout most of the 1980s, resulting in a total of 12 No. 1 hits. In 1982, he became a member of the Grand Ole Opry, the youngest to ever be inducted at that time.

Over the years, he has shown he is willing to mix genres, recording and touring with many different artists, including some in gospel ,blues and country.

In recent years, Skaggs has had numerous Hall of Fame inductions, including the National Fiddler Hall of Fame, IBMA's Bluegrass Music Hall of Fame, the Country Music Hall of Fame, Kentucky Music Hall of Fame, the Gospel Music Association's Gospel Music Hall of Fame and the Musicians Hall of Fame.

Aug. 1: Crowder

Contemporary Christian artist Crowder has sold over 3 million records and has had three Grammy nominations.

His first solo album, "Neon Steeple," debuted at No. 8 on the Billboard 200, was named iTunes 2014 Christian Album of the Year, garnered multiple radio hits, a Grammy nomination for "Come As You Are," a Grand Ole Opry debut and a Dove Award. He has since produced albums titled "American Prodigal," "I Know a Ghost" and most recently "Milk & Honey," which was born out of the 2020 lockdown season and which he describes as a celebration of the hope that God's promise remains true.

That album has already shown immediate connection with the first smash single "Good God Almighty," which hit No. 1 at Christian radio and No. 1 on Billboard's Hot Christian Songs chart.

Aug. 2: Hairball

Vocalists Kris Vox, Dave Moody and Drew Hart lead the band through a 2-plus hour homage to some of the biggest arena acts in the world, including Van Halen, KISS, Motley Crue, Queen, Journey and Aerosmith. The Hairball stage becomes an entirely new rock concert before your very eyes countless times throughout the night.

2023 finds Hairball celebrating its 23rd year of rocking hundreds of thousands of people across the country. It is constantly adding more characters, more pyrotechnics, more lights, more sound, more props and more surprises, performing every show as though it could be their last.

Aug. 3: Lonestar

Lonestar's streak started in 1996 with the band's second single, the rock-edged "No News," which describes a man left bereft (and confused) when his girlfriend suddenly disappears, and the following year's tender "Come Cryin' to Me" and "Everything's Changed." The band's quadruple-platinum 1999 album Lonely Grill spawned four No. 1 hits (including the global smash "Amazed") and established Lonestar as music's preeminent pop-country band — a status they'd maintain through the 2000s and beyond, thanks to songs full of energy and creative lyrics ("What About Now") and ("Mr. Mom"), along with heartfelt messages and soaring melodies ("I'm Already There").

The group has won numerous accolades throughout the years, including Academy of Country Music Awards for new Vocal Group in 1996, Single and Song of the Year in 2000, along with Humanitarian of the Year in 2002. They also won Country Music Association's Vocal Group of the Year and International Artist Achievement Award in 2001.

It celebrated 30 years in 2022.