Some Iowa State Fair Grandstand Acts Not So Grand

Associated Press

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — A state auditor’s report shows that when it comes to revenue, all performances at the Iowa State Fair’s Grandstand aren’t equal.

The Des Moines Register reports nine of the fair’s 53 acts since 2008 have cost more to bring in than they’ve earned in ticket sales.

The study shows Janet Jackson’s 2011 concert appearance was the biggest loser, costing the fair about $107,000.

Last year, three performances didn’t earn enough ticket sales to cover all entertainers’ fees. One of the acts included “Saturday Night Live” veterans Dana Carvey, Dennis Miller and Kevin Nealon. The fair had to come up with nearly $91,000 to pay the performers.

Fair officials are hopeful this year’s Grandstand acts will sell more tickets. The fair, which typically attracts about a million visitors over 11 days, starts Thursday. This year’s acts include the Happy Together Tour, which features members of 1960s and 70s bands Three Dog Night, Grand Funk Railroad and others.

Officials said having a diverse group of entertainers helps maintain the fair’s reputation as a destination for people looking to have fun, and not all of those acts will be profitable.

“You don’t make money on everything you do in life,” said David Snowden, CEO of Triangle Talent Inc., which for decades has helped the fair sign up Grandstand acts.

Acts in past years have included Bob Dylan, Alice Cooper and the Osmond Brothers.

Country acts and classic rock bands tend to bring in the most money. The audit covered 2008 to 2013, and classic rock bands Kansas and the Doobie Brothers, who performed in 2011, generated more than $156,000, the highest cut for the fair during that time.

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