Fair Announces 2018 Headliners

Blues Traveler will be the headline act on the final day of the 2018 Umatilla County Fair. (Photo: Umatilla County Fair)

What do Blues Traveler, Skid Row, Ned LeDoux and Sawyer Brown all have in common? They’ll all be headlining at this year’s Umatilla County Fair.

The fair gets under Aug. 7 at the Eastern Oregon Trade & Event Center with Sawyer Brown taking the stage at 9 p.m.

Beginning as the road band for another singer, Sawyer Brown broke out on their own playing everything from clubs to pig roasts in early 1980s.Sawyer Brown, Skid Row, and Ned LeDoux

“There’s no such thing as a gig we wouldn’t take,” said lead singer Mark Miller, remembering the beginning of the ride. “We knew that we wanted to play music and we knew that we wanted to work at being the best live band there was — and the only way to do that, was to get out and play shows. And so we did.”

More than 4500 shows and counting. More than a million miles behind them and still seeing the highway miles click by outside their bus window. Twenty-three albums. More than 50 chart singles. CMA, ACM, and CMT awards on the shelf. To pull a line from one of the band’s enduring hits: “This is the life and times of a travelin’ band.”

On Wednesday, Aug. 8, Ned LeDoux will headline the evening’s entertainment. LeDoux, the son of the late Chris LeDoux, has been steadily touring over the past year and opening for acts like Toby Keith, Chris Janson, Aaron Watson and Randy Houser. Yet now that he is in front of the mic instead of backing up his dad, Ned has a new goal.

“There’s an age group who doesn’t know who Chris LeDoux is and I just want to keep his name out there,” he said. “I want to reintroduce him to people who’ve maybe heard of him but didn’t know what he did. Just carry on his legacy and carry on his music and at the same time show them what I can do.”

Thursday, Aug. 9 will feature a reformed Skid Row. After breaking up in the 1990s, Skid Row returned to the big stage — literally — opening for Kiss in 2000. Exhilarated to tour with the heroes who rallied them in the first place, the band was reinvigorated by being underdogs who needed to come out fighting to prove themselves.

“When we put the band back together, we needed to reintroduce Skid Row as relevant without relying too much on past success,” explains bassist Rachel Bolan. “We wrote songs and hit the road. We sunk our heart and soul into it, letting people know we weren’t doing it for lack of anything better to do.”

Friday, Aug. 10 will be Latino Night. Enjoy a cultural experience featuring the top Latino bands in the West. Fair officials said the performing bands will be announced at a later date.

The week culminates with a performance by Blues Traveler, best known for their song, Run-Around. John Popper (lead vocals, harmonica), Chan Kinchla (guitar), Tad Kinchla (bass), Brendan Hill (drums), and Ben Wilson (keyboard) – have a proven reputation for their improvisational live shows and relentless touring. With a total of 12 studio albums – four gold, three platinum and one six- times platinum – they have sold more than 10 million combined units worldwide, and played over 2,000 live shows in front of more than 30 million people.

The group’s most recent release, Blow Up The Moon, was its first collaborative album. Keeping an open-minded perspective on making music, the unique and successful process enlisted a range of artists across the musical spectrum, representing country, pop, reggae and hip-hop.

To purchase tickets for any of the headline acts, visit the fair’s website.