News Column

Thomas Rhett brings modern country style to fair

August 5, 2014

By Brionna Friedrich, The Daily World, Aberdeen, Wash.

Aug. 05--For country music fans, the biggest highlight of this year's Grays Harbor County Fair comes opening night, with hot up-and-comer Thomas Rhett's performance.

Fair Manager Mike Bruner said they were able to snap up a spot in Rhett's schedule just as his star was starting to rise.

"We're ecstatic," Bruner said. "We're looking for it to be one of our biggest concerts ever. We couldn't have hit the timing more perfect with him, he was breaking and his music was getting really popular on the radio as we were trying to book him. Literally, after we booked him, he's appearing on country music awards and things like that. We couldn't be more happy to have him here."

Rhett, 24, released his debut single, "Something to Do with my Hands," in 2012, followed by "Beer with Jesus," both of which cracked the top 30 Billboard Hot Country Songs chart.

His third single, "It Goes Like This," peaked at No. 2 on that chart and topped Billboard's Country Airplay chart.

"Country, rock and hip-hop were what I was raised on," Rhett said. "It's a strange combination, but it all leaks into what I write."

Anyone who visits the fair has access to the general admission area of Rhett's 8 p.m. show on the Pepsi Stage, but Bruner said there's only one way to guarantee a seat.

"There's about 60 tickets or so for Golden Circle, we had to expand our Golden Circle" for this show, Bruner said. As of Monday afternoon, the Golden Circle tickets were nearly sold out. "We're telling people, 'Yeah, it is free with your admission, the general admission bleachers, but there's going to be a lot of people wanting to get in there and we're not guaranteeing anybody outside of those Golden Circle seats.' "

Bruner strongly suggests folks get there early to find a seat, since it's likely to be a packed event.

Fair admission is included with Golden Circle tickets, which are $40.

Each night of the fair has a different musical flavor.

On Thursday, Cody Beebe &the Crooks show off their unique sound.

"They're a really, really interesting band, I would call it like an infusion of Creedence Clearwater and Soundgarden," Bruner said.

"It's really interesting music, very talented group musically. They were recently on New Day Northwest, and we're glad to have them here."

Local favorite Humptulips will bring it Friday with a barn dance.

"They're definitely the biggest local band, they're really growing," Bruner said. "They're coming off a recent Battle of the Bands win in Portland -- their local following is growing to more of a regional following. "They're a super fun and entertaining band. We kind of bill it as a barn dance, we move some of the seats back, we put out some hay bales. Hopefully, people get off work Friday and it's time to relax and turn it loose for the weekend, and they can come enjoy music from a really great local band and have a good time."

For '80s rock fans, the best comes last with Atomic Punks closing out the fair music Saturday night, right after the races at Grays Harbor Raceway.

"The Atomic Punks are one of the top-rated, if not the top Van Halen tribute band in the world," Bruner said.

The sanctioned cover band focuses on early Van Halen of "the David Lee Roth era," their website says. Bruner said sometimes when they're in California, Van Halen members will drop into shows and play with the band.

"It will be a really entertaining show for people who are Van Halen fans, who like good old fashioned '80s rock," he said.

All the shows start at 8 p.m. and are free with fair admission, space permitting. For a full calendar of events, visit or call 360-482-2651.


(c)2014 The Daily World, Aberdeen, Wash.

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Source: Daily World, The (Aberdeen, WA)

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