Something Jazz-Related To Do Every Day at the Minnesota State Fair


The Minnesota State Fair is here! We couldn’t be more excited about how much jazz there is on offer this year! No matter what day you go, you should be able to take in a great jazz experience. We sincerely encourage you to come through on Saturday, August 26 and/or Sunday, August 27 when we’ll be holding court in the Education Building. We’ll be broadcasting live throughout the day on Saturday and Sunday and giving out our legendary jumbo tote bags on a first-come first-serve basis.

We’ve compiled a friendly list of some jazz-related events to enjoy every day at the Minnesota State Fair. But no matter what day you come to the Great Minnesota get-together, there is plenty of jazz to enjoy!  And it’s not an accident that jazz is a centerpiece of the entertainment offerings at the Fair! In a conversation with Jazz88 Nate Dungan, the State Fair Entertainment supervisor, said that “we are always proud to present jazz elements to our guests at the fair” and added that “jazz is a truly American musical artform.” Enjoy your jazz at the Fair!

Thursday, August 24 – Cornbread Harris at AFL-CIO Booth – 10am

The term ‘living legend’ doesn’t actually get thrown around that often, and that’s for good reason. But Cornbread Harris is the definition of a living legend. A fixture on Twin Cities stages and beyond, this 96 year old music icon pulls from a beautiful repertoire and his warmth as a human being is contagious in the best way. There’s no better way to start a day at the Fair than with a little bit of Cornbread.

Friday, August 25 – Jamecia Bennett at International Bazaar Stage – 8pm

Jamecia Bennett has been a mainstay of the Twin Cities music scene for years both as a solo artist and as the lead vocalist for The Sounds of Blackness. When Jamecia Bennett plays as a solo artist she told Jazz88 that she “lays it on the line for the evolution of music”. Get ready to hear a blend of jazz, blues, gospel and more when Ms. Bennett and company grace the International Bazaar Stage.

Sunday, August 27 – Chaka Khan with Boyz II Men and NUNNABOVE at The Grandstand – 7pm 

It’s a coup that Chaka Khan is coming through the Minnesota State Fair and it’s even cooler that she’s sharing the bill with Boyz II Men. Though it’s no secret that Ms. Khan appreciates Minnesota and spent some time here while she was signed to Paisley Park, it’s still welcome news that she’ll be on the Grandstand. Be sure to arrive in time to catch the rising stars of the local music scene, NUNNABOVE.

Monday, August 28 – Transit Authority at Giggles’ Campfire Grill 8pm

Ready for a brassy and faithful send up of the music of Chicago? Look no further than the sounds of the premier Chicago tribute group, Transit Authority. With a full band cooking on some of the most exciting horn charts in music history, prepare for a jumping house when Transit Authority takes the stage.

Tuesday, August 29 – Jennifer Grimm at Dino’s Gyros – 3:15pm

Jennifer Grimm, one of the most celebrated voices in Minnesota music, is bringing her act to the State Fair for a nice long gig. Grimm and company will bring their accessible sound that blends jazz and popular music to Dino’s Gyros from 3:15-7pm.

Wednesday, August 30 – The Dirty Shorts Brass Band at the International Bazaar Stage  – 10:45am, 12:00pm, 1:15pm

Bringing a little bit of New Orleans flavor up the river to the State Fair is always a welcome offering at the Minnesota State Fair. The Dirty Shorts Brass Band is a Twin Cities based group steeped in New Orleans Brass traditions. Join them for a little bit of Louisiana right in Falcon Heights.

Thursday, August 31 – Maryann and the Money Makers at the AFL-CIO Booth – 5:00pm

Friend of the station, Maryann Sullivan is delivering the goods alongside her swing group “The Money Makers.” This group has been a mainstay of stages all around town for quite some time. It’s a beautiful thing to see them on the schedule for the fair. Rest your feet somewhere else because you’ll want to start dancing when Maryann and the Money Makers are on the bandstand.

Friday, September 1 – Joel Paterson Trio at Schell’s Stage at Schilling Amphitheater – 4:00pm, 5:00pm and 6:00pm

Joel Patterson is an on-demand guitar player working in blues and jazz out of Chicago. Back in Chicago, Paterson has held a weekly residency down at the Iconic Green Mill Cocktail Lounge on Mondays for a year plus. He’s bringing that sound right onto the Schell’s Stage at the Great Minnesota get together. Get ready to swing with one of the most celebrated guitar players in the Midwest.

Saturday, September 2 – Bruce A. Henry at the Leinie Lodge Bandshell – 10:30am, 11:45am

There are few musicians with the communicative gift of Bruce A. Henry. Whether he is explaining a facet of American music between songs, conveying his message deep inside of a stirring ballad or working the band behind him into a musical frenzy, Henry was born to communicate his message to the world. He and that world-class band of his will be communicating the power of music from the Leinie Lodge Bandshell. Listen to a conversation between Bruce and Sean McPherson here.

Sunday, September 3 – Charanga Tropical at the Minnesota AFL-CIO Booth  – 5:00pm

Many experienced dancers in the Twin Cities will only dance to the sounds of Charanga Tropical. With some of the most elite musicians in the Twin Cities laying down amazing rhythms and harmonies with world-class vocalists floating over the top, catching Charanga Tropical is a right of passage for any music fan serious about understanding and dancing to Cuban rhythms.

Monday, September 4 – Malamanya at the International Bazaar Stage – 7:30 pm

For years Malamanya has been bringing the rhythms and melodies of the Caribbean and Latin America to stage all around the Midwest. The group is well-known for their energetic performances filled with percussion, vocals and powerful instrumentalists.




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