Making A Case For Live Entertainment At Amusement Parks And Fairs

Written by on September 23, 2010 in Live Reviews, September 23, 2010 - Comments Off on Making A Case For Live Entertainment At Amusement Parks And Fairs

ZZ Top made a fun experience at the recent Antelope Valley Fair that much more enjoyable. Pictured: Dusty Hill (left) and Billy Gibbons (right) of the long-time, still-loved Texas rock trio.

ZZ TopThose seeking live music in unconventional settings shouldn’t make the mistake of overlooking County Fairs and Amusement Parks, as some of today’s biggest names in all the musical genres played this year’s L.A. County Fair, O.C. Fair; and Antelope Valley Fair. At the Antelope Valley Fair in Palmdale, not far from where I live in the High Desert, my girlfriend Kat and I went to see the one and only ZZ Top on a steamy hot late-August Summer night, one of the many great headliners the AVF featured this year. On the night we attended, not only did ZZ Top put on a great concert; but in the AV Fair’s Food Area, there was an above-average cover band performing as well. While cover bands aren’t necessarily my cup of tea, it still had the effect of keeping the large crowds from all converging on the rides, and therefore thinning out the lines.

My reasoning for presenting live music at Fairs and Amusment Parks is twofold: One, it attracts that many more people (especially those that are older and maybe not that much into roller coasters or the other Fair/Amusment Park rides); Two, (as previously mentioned), it can have the positive affect of thinning out the always-long lines of people waiting to get on the rides, therefore making for an overall more enjoyable visitor experience.

One place we wished would have had live entertainment when we visited, but didn’t, is Knotts Berry Farm in Orange County. The venerable family establishment that bills itself as “America’s First Theme Park” would have been much better suited to have some form of entertainment when we came to the park on an otherwise lovely day in early September – again, as an alternative for us adults (while the kids went on the coasters, etc.), and also to help thin out the very excessive lines that day.

Theme parks can always be counted to have live entertainment at our favorite time of year, Halloween. Knotts is presenting music as part of their yearly “Knotts Scary Farms” promotion (running September 24- October 31) in the form of the Street Drum Corps’ BANG!’s “Blood Drums” show inside the park’s Necropolis Theater, while Six Flags Magic Mountain “Fright Fest” (running through Halloween) also features live entertainment, with more of an emphasis on actual bands. Pop-punk progenitors the Feisty Piranhas play Six Flags Fright Fest on October 30.