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Nebraska State Fair announces lineup and plans concert improvements

The Nebraska State Fair is bringing back its outdoor concert series in 2018 (NTV News)

Balancing family fun with safety, the Nebraska State Fair takes steps to improve concerts, while also bringing in some of the biggest names yet.

“We're going to open with Kelly Clarkson and Saturday we have Sugarland,” Chelsey Jungck announced Wednesday.

It's the fourth year of the outdoor concert series that's made the fair's opening weekend a major destination.

Jungck, the fair’s entertainment director said, “Our Sounds on the Grounds concept was developed by us really listening to our guests and what they wanted to see. We continue to see requests for bigger name acts and of course to do that we moved outside to grow the capacity of the venue space.”

There have been growing pains. Last year, 13,000 people attended one of the shows, which created bottlenecks at security checkpoints.

Jungck said, “We're going to be widening one of our gates to smooth out our traffic flow. We've purchased and we'll be renting metal detectors to make the security screening process go smoother.”

One change concertgoers will notice is they will no longer allow lawn chairs.

“Instead we will be providing seating in sections where lawn chairs were once allowed,” Jungck said.

Security is on the minds of many in the concert industry, following the deadly mass shooting at an outdoor concert in Las Vegas.

In addition to outdoor shows, inside the Heartland Events Center they've booked acts for older Nebraskans and Christian audiences, plus country and classic rock.

“We try to offer something for everybody and I think we've gotten close this year,” Jungck said.

Tickets range from 6 bucks to 85 depending on the act and location.

Jungck said, “We try really hard to keep concert ticket prices affordable. But then yes you have added value of you're not just coming to a concert, you're going to visit us at the Nebraska State Fair.”

Jungck said she and her staff have to balance budgets and genres with geography, which artists are on tour where.

With everything announced, they hope for a strong year.

“We're super excited about the lineup we've put together,” she said.

The complete concert lineup for the 2018 Nebraska State Fair includes:

Kelly Clarkson on August 24 7:30pm at Fonner Park Track Infield. Tickets are $50 for general admission and $85 for the pit, plus gate admission and fees.

Sugarland on August 25 7:30pm at Fonner Park Track Infield. Tickets are $50 for general admission and $85 for the pit, plus gate admission and fees.

The Righteous Brothers: Bill Medley & Bucky Heard on August 29 2:00pm at Heartland Event Center. Tickets are $6.

Francesca Battistelli on August 30 7:30pm at Heartland Events Center. Tickets are $6.

Old Dominion on August 31 7:30pm at Heartland Events Center. Tickets are $35 for general admission and $45 for the pit.

Up with People on September 1 7:30pm at Heartland Events Center. Tickets are $6.

Night Ranger on September 2 7:30pm at Heartland Events Center. Tickets are $22.

Tickets go on sale Tuesday, May 1 at 10am at the Heartland Events Center box office, or fans can purchase online at StateFair.org. Ticket prices, artist information and entertainment can be found online.

You can see the entire lineup and more about each artist here.


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